The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Making commuters a part of campus life

It may not be obvious to many St. John’s students, but there are some very distinct differences between residents and commuter students. It may be fairly easy to spot residents, also known as dormers. They can sometimes be seen wearing pajamas and flip flops to class.

More likely than not right after class is over and the dormer has a two hour break until his next class, he will go back to his dorm room. This makes it very tough to get to know dormers if you are a commuter student. Commuters, on the other hand, have no room to go back to so, unlike the dormer, they have to figure out what to do with their free time.

There is a lack of activities on campus geared specifically towards commuters. Yes, there is a Commuter Appreciation Week which has taken place the past two years, but there are many more events geared toward resident students.

This month alone there are 45 events scheduled on the St. John’s Web site catered to resident students specifically. Take, for example, September 10. There were four Resident Life events which took place one right after the other, beginning with “The Healthy Ice Cream Social” at 7 p.m., and ending with “Brother and Sister Social” at 9 p.m. There was a Commuter 101: Lunch with “The Money Coach” Lynnette Khalfani-Cox on September 16, but this was the only event for commuters in the whole month.

A few times a month there are movie showings in The Little Theatre, but sometimes the movies start at 5 p.m. or later. Commuters cannot stay late on campus because, in many cases, they have to take both a bus and a train to get home, or they have assignments due for class the next day.

Resident students have The Office of Resident Life, which is located in Donovan Hall. Dormers have Resident Assistants, Directors, and Hall Councils to help them with any concern or need. Also, as it says on the St. John’s site, Hall Councils have access to free or discounted tickets to NYC events like Yankees games or Broadway shows.

Though all students have access to the Department of Student Life, which is helpful, there is not anything specifically for commuter students like there is for their resident counterparts.

College life is a big adjustment for all students, not just for dormers. It is often overlooked that commuter students also need help getting acclimated to the new environment.

Perhaps an Office of Commuter Life should be established to deal with the daily problems that go with commuting to campus. This could be a place where commuters may feel welcome because it could be geared specifically towards them.

Also, in order to mix commuters and dormers there could be a week dedicated specifically to both groups in which games could be played on the Great Lawn, giveaways could be held, and, for a better incentive for everyone to come, free food. The event would be similar to Commuter Appreciation Week and Homecoming, but the main theme of the event would be to unite the dormers and commuters.

Of course, it is not definite whether or not many students would choose to attend, but it would foster a sense of school pride and help commuters feel less like outsiders on campus. Even though some live on campus and others commute to campus,
commuters and residents alike attend St. John’s University together and should all be united in that.

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