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Business Leaders Make Their Pitches to Students at CommUniversity

Lander University students participating in this year’s CommUniversity event spin the Food Lion wheel of fortune with Food Lion Store Manager Jeremy Fuller. Photo by Laura B. Wood

CommUniversity, an annual event at Lander University, usually brings quite a few recruiters from area businesses to campus in addition to community members representing churches, counseling services and other organizations, and this year’s event, on Wednesday, Sept. 7, was no different.

Recruiters from Sports Break, Main and Maxwell, the YMCA and the Dixie Drive-In all tried to put their best foot forward with students, as did representatives of Greenwood School District 50, who were looking for tutors for the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program.

“We’ve got a lot of college and high school students that work for us,” said Jeremy Fuller, store manager for the Food Lion store in South Greenwood.

Fuller was trying to hire people for all three Food Lion stores in town.

“Right now, between the three locations, we could probably hire anywhere from 40 to 50 people,” he said.

Yolanda Parks hoped that her table, laden with bagels, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and scones, would interest students in working for Panera Bread of Greenwood.

Parks, the restaurant’s general manager, said she was looking for “about ten energetic, motivated” workers.

“We have different positions. You can work in the dining room and talk to our customers. You can be a cashier, work on the line or in the drive-thru. You can move up in management. The options are unlimited,” she said.

Rachel Freel, a beauty consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics, said she was trying to put together a team of independent contractors.

A job like that is perfect for college students, said Freel, a 2021 graduate of Lander, because “you work for yourself, and work on your own time.”

Freel, who was trying to lure people her way with prizes and free samples, felt confident that she had secured commitments from “a few ladies already.”

She said that selling something doesn’t require any special skills.

“If you can talk to people, you can be a salesperson,” she said.

A job that helps students pay their way through college can be a good thing, but volunteer work yields dividends, too. It looks great on a resume, according to Jilisa Cade, community impact manager with United Way of the Lakelands.

Cade said that working in the United Way’s office, maintaining the United Way’s eight gardens or serving as a volunteer in United Way’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program is a great way to gain valuable experience.

Students can “take the skills that they have learned, and apply those to other jobs,” she said.

Habitat for Humanity is another regular participant in CommUniversity. Program Coordinator LaToya Wright said she was there “to let students at Lander know about our volunteer opportunities and what we are doing in the community.”

Habitat for Humanity puts students to work in its ReStore, and they also help in the construction of houses. Wright said that volunteers belonging to fraternities, sororities or clubs often talk others in their circle into volunteering, too, “and the whole group will come out and help us.”