Commuter students still get the college experience



Justine Stump

You don’t live in a dorm. You don’t have a college roommate. You don’t have a bottomless food plan. You’ll never see the inside of Rosie’s at 2 a.m.

Commuter students may not live the campus life, but they can still get involved and have a college experience without living on campus.

Della Marshall, Associate Director of the Center for Student Involvement, said only about ten percent of freshman commute, leaving them feeling alone.

Marshall said one of the best things a commuter student can do to get involved is join the Commuter and Off-Campus Student Organization, or COSO.

COSO will host a “coffee hour” in the cyber café in the basement of the student center every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon starting in October.

“They can meet new people and have an idea of what’s going on,” Marshall said.

Commuters should also keep an eye on the chalkboard located just outside the cyber café, Marshall said, because COSO keeps it updated with different events going on around campus.

Emilie Liadis, executive director of COSO, said she thinks it’s important for students to join some kind of organization to meet new people.

Finding Shelter

Commuters may find themselves feeling stranded when they have a long day of classes and no dorm room.

Marshall said commuters often complain about how they want some place to go when they have gaps of time.

“We’re working to explore the possibility of creating study lounges for commuters that have microwaves and a place for them to leave their stuff,” Marshall said.

But for now, commuters will have to make do with the facilities provided. If a student has homework to work on they should go to the library or somewhere quiet, Marshall said, as the Student Center is often too noisy.

If a commuter is just looking for a place to hang out, then the lower level of the Student Center is a good place to look, Marshall added. They provide pool tables, TVs and computers — all free of charge.

Marshall said students should also keep an eye out for lounges, computer labs and comfortable spots in the buildings they frequent most.

Scavenging for Food

Commuters always have the option to pack a lunch, but most students look forward to leaving the brown-bagged lunch behind them along with attendance bells and standardized tests.

About 22,000 of Kent State’s nearly 28,000 students commute. For this reason, the dining plan is not accepted on the first floor of the Student Center between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to better accommodate commuter students, according to the Kent State website.

Dining services also offers the Blue Dining Option, a dining plan for commuter students accepted at most locations across campus.

Preparing for the Worst

Since a car is often a commuter’s key to survival and home away from home, the COSO website suggests students keep emergency supplies in their cars, such as first-aid kit, extra clothes, jumper cables, flat tire kit, non-perishable snacks and water.

In case of emergency, students shouldn’t hesitate to call the parking services dispatch at (330)672-4444. They provide jump-starts, tire inflation, emergency refueling and lockout assistance.

Commuters should also be aware of parking regulations, said Larry Emling, manager of Parking Services. If students have any questions or concerns, they should contact parking services because Emling said he wants to “avoid giving people tickets.” But if a car is parked illegally, it will get ticketed and maybe even towed.

“They need to get here early. Students should allow extra time,” Emling said. “Planning is one of the life skills you learn in college.”

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Justine Stump at [email protected].