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Commuter Student Programming and Engagement
In 2008, I assisted in the establishment of a commuter student organization on my campus. I was a commuter student from the very beginning of my college career and I found myself feeling rather disheartened by: 1) the lack of engagement on the part of commuter students -- I have known juniors who had never stepped foot inside of our student union -- and 2) the lack of programming specifically targeted to this significant segment of the student population.
It was a challenge to get things started, but fortunately we survived our first year and I'm proud to say that the fate of the organization is now in the hands of a very competent group of student leaders. However, we've consistently found ourselves struggling to create interest and participation in our group. One of our primary goals is to create daytime events and activities that might allow off-campus students to connect to each other and the rest of the university community. We have hosted events such as "Rock Band," a free doughnut giveaway in the commuter parking lot (people are surprisingly skeptical of free fried dough), and we even featured an acoustic musician in our food court. Still, participation has been sparse.
Is anyone else experiencing similar problems on their campus? Reactions and ideas would be much appreciated!
It's too bad it's been a year, but I thought I'd try to reply anyways. When I read this, I thought you were from my institution!
We also struggle with ideas to help commuters-but we are really getting into it now. We are keeping things centralized-that's our whole plan. The union is in the middle of our very spread-out campus and we try to use that to lure people in with live music and free food-we do free food everyday, 3x a day.
We also try to do more big events and much fewer little events, so we focus on the big ones. We really try to reach out to commuters and what they NEED. We started a "ride-share" and "housing" board in the union so that it is centralized and on other boards on campus, we post directions to the union so 1. we get people there and 2. everything for commuters is in one place-centralized.
But its still a struggle. We are a new program, too!Good luck, unless I am too late