Do you miss out on campus events? Have a hard time finding parking on campus? What about class schedules conflicting with other commitments? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are, you are a commuter. Being a commuter is hard, but the newly formed Commuter Connect Organization is here to help. Commuting students often face different struggles than residential students, whether it be food plans, attending tutoring sessions, or getting involved socially. Luckily, commuters now have a resource where they can voice their concerns.
Commuter Connect was formed a couple months ago under the direction of faculty advisor, Dr. Klebaur (Dr. K). Klebaur explained that she decided to spearhead the group after another faculty member and students expressed interest in forming a group as such. “As a commuting faculty member, there are many events that I would like to attend on campus, but cannot due to them being at night. I know that if this is a concern of mine, it is a concern of many commuting students as well. I know this is one of the many challenges that commuters face, so I decided to become the faculty advisor to help raise awareness of those challenges” said Klebaur.
Dr. K hears many issues from commuters, but one she says rises above them all – parking. “I think the main problem for this year’s parking issue is because Ketner is offline, making parking a premium” said Klebaur. She also stated that class times are posing a problem. With classes starting either really early, or really late in the day, “students often have a hard time getting to campus because of rush hour traffic, or they end up getting home really late.”
Catawba senior and Commuter Connect Advisory Board Member, DaQunda Magwood, shared some of the groups utmost concerns that they would like to see taken into effect. Among these concerns is the scheduling of classes. Magwood proposes a possible solution of “offering more online classes or by adding hybrid courses, similar to what is seen in the evening program.” Many students, both commuters and residential students agree with a restructuring of class schedules. Some may argue that this may make Catawba more appealing to prospective students and allow us to be comparable to other colleges/universities.
Recently, the Commuter Connect Organization hosted their first event in the Third Place Coffee House. All commuting students were invited to bring their lunch and hear from various organizations on campus including admissions, Catawba to Career, student success, the student newspaper, and Volunteer Catawba. As of now, “we are trying to get the word out about the organization and let commuter students know that they have a group that they can connect with and have someone that can be advocates for them” said Klebaur.
Commuter Connect plans on formulating a website so that students can obtain information about various resources on campus such as academic support, counseling, and events. “I hope that in our first year of existence, we can raise awareness about events, parking, food, and the overall challenges of a commuting student” says Magwood.
The group is in the process of planning their next events so be on the lookout for an email in the near future.