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Ahem… To the Commuters…

In the last edition of the Pauw Wow, I happened across an article (printed, oddly enough, twice) commenting on the “disadvantages” of Commuter Students. In particular, after summarizing some of the primary issues facing Commuters on campus, the article exhorts readers to “fear not,” as a student association dedicated to their cause is currently being revived.  While I fully support the idea of Commuters coming together to address and discuss their concerns (an idea beneficial for any group of students in a university), I feel that the concerns expressed in said article were slightly overblown and, to be honest, one-sided.

As a Resident, I have noticed that Commuter concerns generally follow the two main complaints listed in the former article: the morning commute and the inconvenience of evening events. To the latter, I would like to note that such scheduling relates primarily to the fact that ALL students have classes during the day. Evening events avoid class scheduling conflicts, and unless Commuters happen to all take classes at the same time (which I doubt), I wager that daytime activities would still inconvenience some. And don’t forget, we Residents like free evenings as well.

I acknowledge the fact that some Commuters don’t want to wait hours before going home. The catch is, Commuters can leave campus at their leisure, while we Residents have the ironically-termed home-away-from-home (which, as Ms. Ahmad noted, costs a pretty penny). Yes, we “live” right there. But it does have its drawbacks. East Campus has to share floor facilities, which can become, and remain, clogged. West Campus has to deal with tenants. Both usually have that one dude that parties until 4am on a weekday, building fines from when those pranksters put a hole in the wall, and an incredibly shoddy heating system. (Really, we have fans in windows in the winter.)

True, we Residents have the Office of Residence Life. But if you ask any Resident, they will tell you that we have just that: the office itself. Having just gone through a fresh set of staff for the umpteenth time, we’d probably be better off being allowed to get our own duct tape and toolkits. So if a Resident groans at claims of Commuters not being heard, it’s because we also usually have our own issues that are not addressed. And if you think you’re alone on the parking issue, keep in mind we Residents also have jobs, drive, and need car space. We don’t live there, too.

Commuters have a commute. We have communal living. And not all of us consider it the ultimate away-from-home experience. It’s nowhere close to a substitute for being home. We both have issues and disadvantages. Clearly, based on Ms. Ahmad’s list of activities and offices, Commuters do have opportunities, same as Residents. So yes, please do form a committee. But please stop with the comments of how Commuters have the worse college experience. The feud has gone on long enough.

Online Editor’s Note – “Ahem… To the Commuters…” is a response to the October 2nd article, “What It’s Like Being a Commuter Student?” by Zuha Ahmed.


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