Bookstore offers merchandise, student work opportunity

Vickie Guido escapes the intense heat of a summer morning by entering the air-conditioned first floor of Stover, and opening the poster-covered white doors of the on-campus bookstore.

She walks past the merchandise, including Waynesburg’s signature spice-orange, printed on a variety of magnets, t-shirts, sweatshirts and mugs, and towards her office as store manager.

Guido, a 1998 Waynesburg University graduate with a degree in graphic design, now works through Follett Higher Education as the store manager for Waynesburg.

The bookstore is run and operated by Follett Higher Education, with students being hired externally by the organization rather than participating in a work-study program through the university. The duties of the student workers include customer service, running the register and helping students locate books within the store.

In late summer, when classes have yet to begin and the dorms are largely vacant, Guido is busy preparing for her busiest time of the year.

“There is always so much going on in the first few weeks, especially in the fall semester,” Guido said. “Matriculation is definitely our biggest day because parents come to campus too, and for three weeks it continues to be that busy, and then it eventually tapers down.”

With the rise of students ordering their textbooks online, late summer has become even more chaotic for Guido, who organizes those online orders as well as preparing for matriculation.

“Before the semester, there are always a lot of online orders, and they kind of decrease over the course of the semester,” Guido said.

For these online orders, Guido and student staff members fill the orders themselves.

“When someone places an order online for a book or shirt, we go and grab it right off the shelf,” Guido said. “There is no warehouse.”

As the semester continues and students become more set in their routines, the influx of students in the bookstore steadily slows down.

Following the rush of students initially ordering textbooks for their classes, occasional students stop in the store to purchase day-to-day convenience items or blue books for exams.

“We sell a lot of pop and candy at this point of the semester,” Guido said.

According to Guido, her job includes the tasks mentioned, as well as “everything else”. Scheduling student workers, ordering or replacing an order for books, receiving shipments and organizing online orders all fall within her responsibilities.

“I am usually always busy,” Guido said. “We may not be busy in the store customer-wise, but there is always something to be done.”

To stay on top of her daunting daily tasks, Guido says she makes lists and utilizes time management skills she learned as a student at Waynesburg.

“Organization is definitely a key,” Guido said.

Guido has been an employee for Follett Higher Education for a decade, and during that time, she worked at the bookstore at California University of Pennsylvania for four years. According to Guido, the difference between a public university with 9,400 students and Waynesburg’s population is evident through her experience with customer service.

“It’s very different,” Guido said. “Everything from the campus, the professors and the students is different. It’s much bigger – you just don’t get that one-on-one interaction.”

Within her years working at bookstores, particularly Waynesburg, Guido has had the chance to get to know the students she manages. One of the students, Angie Marchetti, a senior marketing major, began working at the bookstore at the start of the fall, 2017 semester.

“Right away, when you come into the store, you’re greeted,” Marchetti said. “Since you’re at a smaller bookstore and a smaller school, you get to have that more comfortable and friendly atmosphere.”

Marchetti, who is also a student athlete through her participation on the cross-country team, says that she has “benefitted” from the job in further understanding the importance of time management, as well as being reassured in the business aspect of her major.

“With all that I am involved in and classes, I don’t really have time to go out,” Marchetti said. “But having the friends that I have made at the bookstore really has opened up my friend group.”