Commuter culture on campus

Kristen Kobe

Campus connection is crucial to students who attend a college as large as Kent State. Students can get lost in all the programs and activities that Kent has to offer, especially students who do not live on campus.

Three years ago the university created UCommute, which created a home away from home for commuter and off-campus students. UCommute works closely with COSO (the Commuter Off-Campus Student Organization) to host events and provide services that cater to commuter students. Monthly events are held between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and are usually located in The Nest on the second floor of the Kent State Student Center.

Rebecca Kapler, coordinator of off-campus and commuter services, works specifically with commuter students at Kent State. The goal of UCommute is to engage students while providing professional support and assistance, she said.

“I tell students to get involved on campus, find different activities, go to Blast-Off in the fall and just get started with different activities on campus,” Kapler said.

UCommute provides students with different resources and options on campus, including on-campus jobs. Sophomore family and life studies major Sam Vaughn commutes to Kent from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and works at the Kent State Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

“Thank goodness I work at the Rec,” Vaughn said. “All my friends, connections and everything that I have on campus are through the Rec.”

Vaughn said she started working at the Stu

dent Recreation and Wellness Center because she did not have but wanted those connections.

“To future commuters, get involved on campus,” she said. “If it’s working, if it’s clubs, if it’s sororities or fraternities, just something that will involve you with other people on campus.”

However, senior English major Emily Gnagy did not get involved on campus. Gnagy commutes from Tallmadge and works part time.

“I feel like I’m missing out, and I wish that I would have gotten more involved,” Gnagy said. “If you wait too long, things pass and you get busy in other things.”

Gnagy said she does not plan to walk at her graduation in December.

“I don’t necessarily have people to walk with,” Gnagy said. “It’s just one of those things.”

Definitely get involved, suggests senior political science major Sam Varner. If you’re not involved, she said, you’re not going to meet people. Varner said she met her first group of friends through an organization she joined freshman year. 

“It’s easier when you meet people in an organization that you actually care about,” she said.  “They are there for the same reason so you have something to talk about and to do together.”

Kristen Kobe was a beat reporter for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]