OCSS offers advice on commuting and housing options, as well as weekly activities, for commuters. Photo by Alex McKenzie.
UMBC is well-known for being an institution that welcomes many students who attend classes on campus without living here. University life as a commuter student means potentially missing out on many of the things afforded to peers.
As the semester draws to a close and commuters are reflecting on their time in college and how their living arrangements affected their experiences, it is a perfect time to figure out ways to improve life for those who commute to this school.
UMBC needs to keep striving to make sure that commuters have a college experience that is as fulfilling as that of on-campus students who have many advantages. While there are levels of privacy and freedom that only come from living at home, such as a nice home-cooked meal, commuter students still deserve more opportunities than they currently have.
Students who live on campus have the privilege of attending many of the 100 events that SEB hosts a semester. Unfortunately, commuter students do not always feel that there is enough happening on campus geared toward them and their schedules.
The events held on campus provide students with ample opportunities to meet other retrievers, hang out with their friends and have fun while relaxing from the stress of classes. However, commuter students are not always able to reap these benefits.
Off-Campus Student Services is an organization that seeks to help adult learners, veterans, transfer students and commuters. Among the many services that OCSS provides is programming specifically created so that commuter students feel more welcome at UMBC.
Freshman computer science major Desmond Oliver said of OCSS, “I’m actually really surprised by how well they do with how little they have. They actually try to make fun things happen, especially the commuter breakfasts, I love that.” Oliver added, “If they had more resources and did more things they would probably be even better than they are now.”
Another issue Oliver spoke about besides lack of resources for OCSS is parking on campus. Sophomore math major A’mon Griffin echoed Oliver, detailing his struggle in planning trips to and from campus when taking the bus. “I have to wake up really early to get here … I wish that there were [sic] more parking for commuter students,” Griffin said.
UMBC should make sure to have plenty of activities on campus and things to do during the day so that people do not miss out if they have to go home at night. In addition, students should apply to work at OCSS to make sure that the organization is well-staffed. Then the university will be able to devote more resources to the program and ensure that everyone’s education is fortified by strong community ties with the school.