Job Opportunities Abound Around Western

It is easy to believe that Cullowhee, North Carolina is the furthest thing possible from a thriving metropolis. At a first glance, the small town named for “place of the lilies” appears little more than the location of Western Carolina University. A single strip of road is all that leads to it from the main highway entrance in Sylva, a street lined with fast food restaurants and small, locally-owned and operated businesses. Beyond the University, the roads wind off into lush green mountains with little more than private homes to be found. For university students looking to earn a little money along with their diploma, the possibilities appear dim. But fear not. There is more to Cullowhee than meets the eye. “What some people don’t seem to realize,” says WCU Career Services Advisor Mardy Ashe, “is that Western is located very close to a number of major resorts and locations in the area. Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Ghost Town in the Sky, Cherokee and Asheville, the Biltmore Estate… Most local resorts hire primarily Western students.” While hospitality and tourism majors may rejoice, others should not feel left out. Balsam Mountain Preserve near Cullowhee has hired a number of biology majors in the past. Several white water rafting and camping businesses located in or around Cullowhee would interest outdoors and sports enthusiasts. Or, for those wishing to stick closer to campus, a long list of non work-study jobs can be found on the University’s website. On March 13, a summer job fair was held at WCU in an attempt to stir up awareness of just how many job opportunities are available in the area. Close to fifty businesses turned out. A list of these potential employers can be found at under Events. The Career Services Department keeps a comprehensive list of all these businesses on their website, as well as what majors they are hiring or offering internships to and what businesses may have hired WCU students in the past. Also to be found on the website at is a Local Job Board, a list that is continually updated and maintained to advertise off-campus part-time jobs, much like the classified section of a newspaper. In addition to this, offers a list of non work-study jobs to be found on campus, as well as directions on how to secure them. Further details can be found on these lists such as the job title, location, hours, pay and contact information. “We’re not a big populated area,” says Ashe. “But there are lots of opportunities. The trick is to get in early and not wait until the last minute.”