Eastern Nazarene College is a very diverse school that has students coming from many different areas of the world to live on campus and get the greatest Christian education possible. Other students commute to campus every day, whether by public transportation or vehicle, raising additional difficulties and challenges.
Commuter students may feel as though they are excluded from campus and are not as involved as they want to be since they are not residents on campus. Commuters may not have the same advantages as residents here at Eastern Nazarene College, especially in terms of having easy access to extracurricular events and resources on campus, but we hope that certain adjustments will be made to help ENC Commuter Students to allow students to have the best commuter experience possible.
Some students were willing to speak about the commuting experience.
David Villard, an ENC accounting major, believes that commuter life is great because “those who don’t live too far from campus … can experience what ENC has to bring while also enjoying the comfort of home afterwards. I also feel as though commuters are treated equally as residents.”
Other students, such as freshman finance major Emily Conde, who lives in the South End, believe that while “commuter life can be nice at times, it’s not the most enjoyable thing in the world having to travel 40 minutes for one class, but I’ve gotten used to it.”
Conde commutes by public transportation every morning and also relies on the shuttle for transportation from Wollaston Station. She noted some things that ENC can do to make her commuter experience more convenient, such as having shuttle buses run more often after 3pm, especially when poor weather conditions occur. Conde prefers commuting to being a resident here at ENC for several reasons, but does sometimes feel excluded from the events here on campus.
Commuting by public transportation can be very costly especially with the MBTA raising the fares by more than 9% starting July 1. An accommodation that Conde would want to see occur is to have free MBTA passes provided by the school for students who take public transportation.
Robbie Keuther, a communications major at ENC, enjoys the freedom of commuting back and forth to campus but often finds himself late to class due to how far he lives. Keuther suggests that ENC consider offering students a variety of housing solutions. ENC could “have a better system in place to take commuters and find them real housing, not dorm rooms.”
Regardless what students have to say about commuter life here at ENC the staff in charge of commuters are trying to have commuter students get the best commuter experience possible.
Keri Lewis, the Assistant Dean for Community Life and advisor to the Student Government Association, has been working with Erika Mathieu, the Commuter Council Representative, as well as Robert Benjamin, Associate Dean for Multi-Cultural Affairs and Student Transitions, to make sure than ENC commuters get the best experience possible at ENC.
Lewis stated that the SGA held a survey that involved all commuters. More than half of the commuters on campus participating gave suggestions on how to improve commuter life. One of the results of their responses was the “Weekly Roar,” a publication used to keep commuter students as well as residents updated on what is happening on campus. The survey also allowed for the commuter fridge that has recently been added to the commuter lounge.
The commuter meal plan created by Mathieu was also a product of the survey, giving students a chance to eat in the cafeteria for less on certain days rather than paying full price. Lewis believes that “we need to continue to find ways to reach out to commuter students to fill class council positions so that our commuter students are better represented when decisions are being made about campus events and policies that impact all students.”
Lewis also believes strongly that commuter students need to get their voices heard and recognizes that “the needs of our commuter students are different in many ways from our residential students. We can always use more input in determining what our commuter students need in order to feel a sense of belonging as a part of the ENC Community.”