According to the Manhattan College website, 75 percent of freshman live on campus, leaving the remaining 25 percent of commuters the minority on campus.
Due to the different needs of commuter students, the student government executive board proposed the appointment of a faculty representative of the commuter population, which was presented to the board of trustees.
Marilyn Carter is the newly appointed director of Commuter Services and Outreach. Her position is designed to help bridge the gap between commuter services and the administration.
“I have my hands in a little bit of everything that’s going on trying to piece together what’s needed and how to go about doing that. I initially started out by surveying the commuters to find out a specific profile about the commuters that are going here,” said Carter.
“I had close to 400 responses. Having that type of knowledge will hopefully generate new ideas. I’ve been working with the Commuter Students Association trying to get them back on track and finding a goal here for commuter students,” said Carter.
Carter is trying to keep the students informed by distributing a newsletter that is designed specifically to target commuter outreach.
“I’ve been working on getting a newsletter out to keep them updated on different things. I am interested in commuters no longer being a silent minority here on campus,” she said. “We have a great many of them and we want to provide them with opportunities and services. I initially went to the first Commuter Students Association meeting, I brought the idea up that we needed a way for all commuters to know what’s going on and we wanted to introduce this office and see what they know or didn’t know about the college.”
Rabea Ali, the vice president of the Commuter Student Association, is an editor for the commuter newsletter and one of the students who helped request a director for commuter services.
“As a commuter, it’s hard to know what the different places on campus are to go to for paperwork and other stuff, so it’s nice to have a person in charge who knows where to direct you,” said Ali.
“For any commuter concerns, there is now a person in charge to voice to the administration and get students where they need. I got involved because I’m vice president of the CSA (Commuter Student Association) and I’ve wanted to run a newsletter type vibe for a while but felt it was time to take the jump and mention it. Marilyn and the members happened to love it and I volunteered to lead the effort as it was something I wished to pursue,” said Ali.
According to the survey, the top concerns for commuters is transportation, parking and the cost of commuting. The survey concluded that the average commuter was spending between $100 and $200 a month on transportation.
Carter sought out to find a solution and is introducing a Ride-Share service to commuter students.
“I spent a good amount of time on the internet researching, and back in August I called colleagues to see what they were doing and looked up other colleges and institutions with commuter services to see what they are doing and I happened to stumble upon the Department of Transportation. We had to go through the legal ramifications and we’ve gone through that hurdle so now it’s just a matter of marketing and where it’s going to be at on the site.”
This service is free for students who are interested, as the students will receive an ID number and a password where they would log in with their general information. The program will be set up so the addresses corresponding with theirs will be available for them and if they choose, they can email that student for a ride.
This will hopefully alleviate some of the stress of commuting.
Justin West, a commuting student at MC, commented on the issue.
“One thing I would like to see this campus achieve is to expand with more buildings on campus and expanding our school in general. With this we will also have more places for parking. Being a commuter and not parking with the school’s facilities parking can get very scarce. If we have more areas to park for commuters, it would make our commute a little easier knowing we have that space to park and not worry about it,” said West.
The CSA and Carter are working on many things for the upcoming semester, including meeting with Gourmet Dining about the commuter meal options and parking areas.
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