Conference Assistants: Behind the Scenes of the Summer Staff

by TAYLOR BRETHAUER, Editor in Chief 

At the end of every spring semester, advertisements for the conference assistant position boast intriguing promises– part-time and full-time hours and free summer housing, to name a few. For these students, the summer was full of interesting experiences and the chance to witness the college during its off-season.

The day-to-day schedule for a conference assistant, or CA, was full of housekeeping, facilities and customer service for the different conferences and events on campus. 

“I feel like the CA position is incredibly important, without all of our hard work the programs wouldn’t have run smoothly and there wouldn’t have been anyone to help clean the dorms or set up for events,” said senior Alisse Fullerton. 

There were many people on campus despite it being the summer months such as high school students from Italy learning English and exploring the city and The Buttimer Institute of Lasallian Studies, an intensive Lasallian education and formation program.

But despite the new faces, Fullerton mentions it helped getting to know familiar faces with staff and other students.

“It was very interesting. Being a CA, we got to know the ins and outs of Manhattan College as well as got to know most of the maintenance guys and public safety officers. There were so few of us here that we all got to know each other pretty well and became a large overextended family,” said Fullerton.

Throughout the summer, the students worked together under the leadership of Kara Eltschlager, conference coordinator, and Michele Famularo, associate director of conference services. But for some students, they were given the role of supervisor to oversee other CAs and delegate the work to be done. One supervisor, Byron Aucapina, benefitted from his supervisor position.

“As CA supervisor my team and I did everything from preparing their rooms before check in, assisting clients check in and we set up for their events on campus […] I got the chance to really get to know everyone who worked on my team and the rest of the CA’s. The people really made this job everything because we all got to know each other and had it not been for this job perhaps we may have not met each other during the school year,” said Aucapina.

Working together, during good days and bad days, the group kept the college running smoothly behind the scenes. Senior Michele Pepe understood how their jobs impacted the visitors from around the country and the world.

“For many of our clients, this is their first time traveling to Manhattan College and New York. For some this is their first time to America. That means that we represent both Manhattan College and us as a nation. We hope that they enjoy their time here in New York so much that they want to return next year,” said Pepe. 

All three students interviewed agreed that the job gave them a new perspective of the campus and it was a convenient position for a summer job.

For students interested in the job for next year, Pepe recommends it, saying, “it’s perfect for gaining leadership skills, customer service skills and teamwork skills.”