Commuter students find social outlets, get involved

Colin McEwen

What do non-traditional students do to meet people? Make friends? Find out about student organizations?

Many freshman commuter students at Kent State don’t know the answers to these questions.

Mindy Graeser, freshman exploratory major and Ravenna commuter student, said she meets people by being assertive.

“I talk to people in my classes,” Graeser said. “I don’t just go to class then go home, because you can’t meet people that way.”

Many commuter students aren’t as fortunate as she is.

Jacki Campbell, community concerns director for the Commuter and Off-Campus Student Organization, said Graeser is an exception.

“Commuter students don’t do much of anything,” Campbell said. “They go to classes, go to work and then go home.”

She said many students don’t know where to turnfor help.

“Students need to get involved,” Campbell said. “College is all about networking. The real education comes outside of the classroom.”

She said one way for commuter students to interact is at the organization’s monthly coffee hour. The group discusses matters affecting students and is a way for students to get to know each other.

Terri Capellman, undergraduate studies program director, said there are 700 new freshman commuter students at Kent State this year.

“We are seeing a rise of commuter students who want to get involved and be a part of campus,” she said. “One of the challenges we are facing is being able to identify demographics, such as age. The stereotype of commuter students is becoming blurred.”

Commuter student Aaron Miracle, freshman justice studies major, said he is more interested in studying, working and keeping his car from breaking down than he is about meeting people.

“It is hard for me to find out about things happening on campus because I am only here for my classes,” Miracle said.

Other than looking at campus bulletin boards, Miracle and Graeser said they don’t know how to find out about activities.

Capellman said even though there are 200 organizations on campus, non-traditional commuter students still do not know where to turn.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” she said.

Coffee hour meets in the Music Listening Room of the Student Center Sept. 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Contact non-traditional student reporter Colin McEwen at [email protected].