Commuter’s presence is present

April Federico, Herald Reporter

One issue that I was not always cognizant of, even as a commuter myself, was the discrepancies between commuter students and residential students. After talking with several of my fellow commuter students here at RWU, I think these issues should finally be brought to the forefront and dealt with, head-on. 
First and foremost, sophomore Kira Goodale said that one major issue for commuters (and people, probably residents, are most likely tired of hearing this) is the parking issue. Junior Vanessa Dos Anjos said that she had to miss a test once because she couldn’t find parking. Patrick Stanton, commuter student and president of the class of 2021, makes a point to say there is an abundance of parking in the residential community areas, so why can’t students park in those? 
“How is that fair to commuter students when they are building [another] residential hall in place of one of the commuter parking lots?” Stanton said. Stanton also makes a point to say that commuter students are “pushed to either side of campus,” meaning commuters have to park under the bridge, or near North Res or the parking garage. 
Another stereotype against commuters is that they are often taken advantage of because they have cars. Sophomore Amelia DeMelo, and president of the Commuters in Action club, says oftentimes she gets the response, “So can you drive me somewhere?” when she tells them she is a commuter. Goodale agreed.
Patrick Stanton, and even I, have noticed that residents of Stonewall IV complain that the commuters have “taken their common area.” However, the current location of the commuter lounge wasn’t even a common area at all. Residents still have their own common areas inside the dorm buildings to use which are only accessible by card swipe.
Weather is another issue that many commuters face. Stanton said that Lot H is not plowed during and after snow storms. Goodale recalled that during Nor’easter Riley, she “almost got blown over.”
DeMelo also says that some professors are not very sympathetic with issues commuters face. 
“I’ve noticed that a lot of students that are in the Commuters in Action club have a tough time commuting with teachers about certain snow or weather-related problems,” she said. DeMelo also noted that some commuters, rather than receiving an email that class is cancelled, drive all the way to campus only to find a note on their classroom door. 
“There is discrimination against commuters. Sometimes professors don’t really take that into consideration,” DeMelo said.
The main question is: why do people hate on commuters every so often? 
“We try to integrate ourselves and that doesn’t always work,” DeMelo said. DeMelo is in the process of meeting with RAs of Stonewall IV to create an event where the commuters and residents that share the building can meet and hang out. 
“I know the commuters really like the commuter lounge,” DeMelo said. “I’m just trying to encourage more integration with the residents. Having commuter friends is great because they ‘get you,’ but at the same time, it’s important to feel like you belong on campus, and not a lot of commuters do feel like they belong on campus.” 
This is a really big issue that DeMelo is working her hardest to address. She is also looking to expand the commuter lounge due to its growing use and tight quarters.
Commuter students make up a good population of the campus — about 25 percent of the student body — and we really are a force to be reckoned with. At the end of the day, whether you commute or live on campus, we’re all Hawks. Commuters thank CIA club advisor Scott Yonan; Steve Melaragno, the director of Public Safety; and Cate Tobin, the manager of transportation and parking for being more than helpful to commuter students.