Commuter students want to claim the services they feel they are due, and Notre Dame de Namur (NDNU) staff want commuter students to tell them where to spend the budget for those services.
Makenzie Tompkins, Director of Student Services, encourages commuter students to organize and ask for the services they feel they need. “If the commuter students are interested in having commuter services on campus, the best way to achieve that would absolutely be to get a commuter club back in action.” said Tompkins.
There are limited services now, the Commuter Lounge has two couches, a microwave that takes four minutes to heat leftovers and 20 lockers. Students receive an email before the Fall semester starts, letting them know that an online raffle has been opened to distribute the backpack sized lockers to 20 winners. The Commuter Lounge stands between the cafeteria and the International Student Services office skirting the quad, but it will soon need to be moved when the cafeteria kitchen is expanded into that area.
A shuttle service is available from Monday through Thursday 5:15 P.M. to 10 P.M. on weeknights during the semester and runs on request from St. Mary’s Circle to the bottom of Ralston at the Belmont Caltrain station. If you call the campus security phone line from the bottom of the hill, the shuttle will come take you back to campus. There are 130-160 student riders per month, and it costs the school $80,000 a year to have it available.
“I had no idea we even had a shuttle service, I feel like that money would be better spent somewhere it would benefit a larger portion of the commuter student population.” said NDNU senior commuting student, Mashal Yaseen.
Student Services tried to reach out to commuters to find out what their needs are through a Coffee, Cookies and Commuters event, though they could not get students to attend or to share their opinions and services they think are lacking. If students want to allocate the available funds differently, Tompkins says all they need to do is come together and ask.
There used to be a Commuter Club that could be a voice to communicate commuter needs with the administration who can organize fulfilling those needs. Once the leadership of that club graduated, the club disassembled and has not been put back together. If a leader in the commuter community was willing to stand up and take charge of the Commuter Lounge, survey the needs of commuter students and bring that to the administration, budget could be spent on making campus life more comfortable for those students and future commuter students.
“As a commuter student, I didn’t know to ask for student services. There are little things that could make a big difference; a bigger commuter lounge for those who stay long hours on campus or payment options like flex for commuters to save time with the cafeteria cashiers.” said NDNU commuting Senior, Sneha Anisingaraju.
Tompkins says there is a budget for commuter services but it needs to be an impactful service with a large commuter student population backing it up. All student services are paid for with student fees and tuition, if commuter students want the services they pay for, they will have to ask. Students have an opportunity to advocate for themselves and their peers, and the administrators have expressed desire to help those students.
There is a Student Assembly meeting every Wednesday night at 9:10pm in Cuvilly 6 where student can come voice requests or suggestions for services They can also send an email to Marsh Allen Smith or Makenzie Tompkins making a request. In order to implement services on campus for commuters, there needs to be written requests that Marsh-Allen Smith can then bring to the Board of Directors for the stamp of approval.
Director of Student Services
Dean of Students