Commuters given more opportunities to get involved on campus

The life of a college commuter can be challenging. Due to the constant traveling demands, most college commuters are unable to fully immerse themselves in the “college experience.” Commuter Life Services and Communiversity are working together to offer APU commuters more inclusive activities on campus.

“One of the things we want to do this year is share more of the commuter story,” Rhianna Pierre, Assistant Director of Commuter Life Services said.

According to Pierre, there are approximately 1,700 commuters among the undergraduate population. The story and challenges APU commuters face is something Pierre wants to shed light on.

“[Commuters] have a very big population,” Pierre said. “Just educating and letting all of the offices on campus know about that is important.”

Not only does Pierre want commuters’ stories to be heard, she also wants them to take on more leadership roles. “We want commuters to be leaders on student action teams and chapel bands,” Pierre said.

Commuter Life held a commuter breakfast Tuesday, Sept. 19 and the Center for Student Action (CSA) spoke with the students, hoping it would encourage students to join the various programs APU has to offer.

Cougar Dome has been one of the main places for commuters to hang out, work on homework and engage in different leisurely activities. Commuters also have access to lockers on both East and West Campus to keep their belongings safe. However, there are a few new resources that have been added this year, such as a refrigerator and microwave available inside Cougar Dome for commuters to put their lunches while they go to class.

Junior communication studies major and Commuter Life Services intern, Bitzareth Caldera, is pleased with the idea to add a refrigerator. “I was always worried about bringing a lunch to school,” Caldera said. “I didn’t want it to spoil [in] my car.”

Along with the new additions, commuters are being encouraged to participate in a variety of on-campus activites. Communiversity is now giving commuters a discounted price to join intramural sports and offering commuter teams for each sport.

“We’re trying to [have] more commuters join our programs and not just be a residential program,” Ross Baker, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, said.

Outdoor Adventures is also reserving a certain number of spots for commuters to partake in the trips. “We went to Yosemite this past weekend, and we had about 60 students go,” Baker said. “We held aside five spots just for commuters, and we had all of them filled up pretty quick.”

Baker acknowledged this will be a regular thing for the rest of this semester.

“We’re trying to make these events more accessible for everybody, not just residential students,” Baker said.

Although Communiversity is trying to get commuters more involved in campus activities, for some, the distances they travel make it too difficult to participate. Senior communications major Kayla Rodriguez drives from Valencia every day to school.

“On a good day, it takes about an hour and 10 minutes to get to school,” Rodriguez said. “If traffic is bad, I am looking at a two-hour drive.”

Rodriguez understands the importance of getting commuters involved on campus, but cannot afford to be involved due to her busy schedule.

“It’s hard for me to get involved in the intramural stuff going on because I have work,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like if I lived closer to school it would be easier.”

Communiversity will continue to push for commuter inclusion on campus. On Oct. 6, there will be a special commuter chapel in the Wynn Amphitheater, and on Oct. 30 and Nov. 30, they will host commuter lunches on East and West Campus.