Almost 67 percent of College of Charleston students either live off campus or commute. With such a high percentage of students not living on campus, the Office of Student Affairs has created different resources for off campus and commuter students to enjoy. The Freshman Commuter Collegium and the 24 hour study lounge are two of the resources that they offer.
“Over the past couple of years we have been looking at what we are doing for commuter students and trying to get a sense of what they would want from us in terms of services and programs,” states Michael Duncan, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of the Higdon Student Leadership Center.
After conduction a few focus groups, the Office saw that students want a relaxing place to be their home away from home. “We have been looking at various options. We have been able to add some of [the requested] things in the Stern Center . . . such as the microwave on the second floor and [more comfortable] furniture for students. We are also looking at the old space where the fitness center used to be. Eventually we hope to have lockers in there and vending machines. Almost creating a canteen for commuters,” Duncan said.
They also realized that many students do not know of the resources offered to them nor do they know who can use them. When talking to several College of Charleston commuter students this seemed to be this biggest issue. No one knew about all the recourses offered to him or her. After giving a few commuters a list of resources they found all the services to be extremely helpful.
“I never knew we had these different resources. The 24 hour study lounge sounds like a great place for commuters to sit between long breaks and the fact that we can order food is awesome,” said sophomore commuter Kelsey Perry. The plan for new lockers is something that most commuters absolutely love. “Being a commuter that parks far away from classes, the lockers will be a perfect place all my heavy books and supplies for that school day,” Perry said.
While discussing this topic Mr. Duncan noted, “We need to do a better job of just educating the students about what we are doing and about the services already out there. Which led us to creating our webpage.” This webpage includes information such as Off Campus Housing, Off Campus Housing and Rental Agreements, Community Relations, South Carolina Landlord and Tenant Act, and much more.
“We have a unique situation at the College of Charleston. 67 percent of our students are technically off campus. These things that we are doing for commuter students are also available to off campus students. Sometimes students feel like if they don’t drive to campus they are not considered commuters, but we would want them to know that if you are not in campus owned housing then we are defining you as off campus commuter student,” Mr. Duncan clarified when defining off campus and commuter students.
The Office is continuously looking for new services and programs to offer off campus and commuter students. “We are always open to ideas and suggestions, and anyone is welcome to contact me with new ideas,” Duncan said.