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Credit: Biruk Tibebe

The Greenfield Intercultural Center is searching for its first full-time FGLI Program coordinator to manage its initiatives for first-generation, low-income students.

Since the GIC launched the FGLI Program in 2016, the program coordinator position has been part-time. The coordinator facilitates initiatives for FGLI students such as the GIC's textbook library and the subsidized summer storage program. The coordinator also supports student groups such as Penn First and FGLIQ. Students and GIC staff members agree the position's responsibilities are too demanding to accomplish in a part-time capacity, and for years, FGLI advocates have called on the University to fund the hiring of a full-time coordinator. 

The GIC released a job posting for a full-time coordinator in May. Though the position is listed as "vacant" on the GIC's website, the posting has since been removed from Penn's job application website and the position is no longer accepting applications through LinkedIn.

GIC director Valerie De Cruz declined to comment on the full-time coordinator position until a hire has been made. 

2018 College graduate Juandell Mathews, who served as coordinator in the spring, said the shift will alleviate challenges posed by part-time limitations.

“This move has been a much-needed one," Mathews said.

"It can be a lot of work," Mathews added. "It can sometimes be a little difficult if you can’t physically work all the hours you need to."

College senior Daniel Gonzalez, a work-study student at the GIC and the internal outreach chair for Penn First, echoed Mathew's comments, adding that coordinators often work extra hours to finish their tasks even if they cannot get paid.

“Everyone who has had that job since then as a part-time person has definitely been putting in way more than part-time hours,” Gonzalez said. 

Mathews added that because of the coordinator's limited hours, the GIC's work-study students often must increase their workload to assist with FGLI Program tasks. Gonzalez agreed and said the summer storage program, in particular, required a significant time commitment.

Gonzalez said GIC staff and work-study students coordinated the storage of over 1,000 items belonging to 160 students in less than two weeks. During that time, Gonzalez said he worked 94 total hours. 

While Gonzalez said students are happy about the job's shift to full-time, he said the timing is "inconvenient" and "awkward," as Mathews will not retain his job. Mathews assumed his position as coordinator in February 2019.

“I kind of wanted to see that commitment through for at least a year or so," Mathews said, adding that he found out about the full-time shift a few months into the job.

The need for increased funding for the FGLI Program to hire "one (or multiple) full-time coordinator(s)" was also listed in a document of student concerns raised at previous Penn First summits. Penn First provided this document to The Daily Pennsylvanian in March 2018. 

Gonzalez said students have been advocating for a full-time coordinator position for years, but the GIC has previously not been able to make the shift to full-time because of a lack of funding. 

In addition to increased funding for the FGLI program, students have also called on Penn to provide more resources to the FGLI textbook library. The library has one official staff member to manage over 3,000 books housed in the GIC. 

Gonzalez added that the FGLI Program's work is always growing and will require further support from Penn.

“I honestly feel like there needs to be like a larger staff for the FGLI Program besides from just one full-time coordinator," Gonzalez said. 

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