In light of the National Society of Black Engineers/Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Career Fair last Friday and Saturday, the Editorial Board of The Polytechnic would like to offer some suggestions for future years.
The first suggestion comes from the student petition “Make Career Fair Day a School Holiday,” found at https://poly.rpi.edu/s/zgqwu. The petition makes a good point—it’s frustrating for students who are seeking employment to miss the career fair due to class. While not necessarily mandatory, most students are in the middle of their first round of tests, making missing even one day of class a dangerous prospect. First and foremost, we are here to learn, and getting behind in a class can quickly snowball into a disaster. It does help that companies were on campus Saturday, but many companies only attended Friday. Making the day a holiday would allow more students to attend the fair.
Second, we would like to discuss the dress code, which seems to come up year after year. The career fair is a strange sight to behold, in that students are in professional dress, while recruiters pitch their companies in t-shirts and jeans. To us, it would seem best to either enforce a strict professional dress code for both students and companies, or relax the reins and go with a more business casual approach.
Last, and we acknowledge that this is a stretch, we would like to speak about the diversity of companies at the career fair. Recruitment tends to favor certain fields—understandably so, considering that there is demand from both companies and students. It’s important to remember, however, that Rensselaer offers a wide variety of majors, many of which could stand to benefit far more from career exposure than the larger, more popular ones. Some students didn’t have many options, and it’s very disheartening to walk up to an employer only to be told that they’re looking for a specific major. Moving forward, we would like to see more variety in recruiters at the career fair, so that all of us have a chance to change the world, regardless of study.