By Emily Murphy, Hope Doyen & Ashley Harrison
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) offers you the chance to live on campus through various housing options or to live off campus and commute. Students who live on campus can experience living away from home, making new friends, joining organizations, and many more. However, how many people commute to campus daily, and how involved are commuter students?
UWGB currently has 64 percent of students who live off campus and commute, while only 36 percent of students live on campus. An optional meal plan for those who commute is offered for students with a reduced parking pass price of 60 dollars, compared to students who live on campus, which is 100 dollars. However, the question arises, how can UWGB further engage their commuter students with on-campus events in order to stay connected?
The university does not limit commuters from having the opportunity to still be involved by allowing them all the perks on campus that residential students use, such as lockers, quiet places to study, recreational facilities, food/drink, and Wi-Fi. The university also provides connections for students to find off-campus housing along with transportation needs through the Green Bay Metro. UWGB is committed to keeping commuter students involved by giving them their own commuter lounge located in the University Union.
With the ample number of perks and ability to provide for students off campus, it begs the question: why are over half of the university’s student population commuters? Is it cheaper, in the long run, not to have to pay for housing and meal plans? To find out more information, a survey was conducted to see how many GB students live on or off campus and what made them decide to. While many students may think that commuting is cheaper in the long run, how much are students paying for car maintenance, gas prices, etc.? Many questions arise when thinking about how to better accommodate commuter students and the concerns they have every day.
Emily Goggins, a senior Communication major, commutes ten minutes every day to school. Goggins states, “I have found it more convenient to live off campus because it provides a sense of freedom and responsibility more so than living on campus.” Commuting to school every day can place wear on your car over time, but ultimately Goggins feels, “because I only live ten minutes away from school, driving to school every day doesn’t place significant wear on my car.” UWGB allows students to commute to school if they wish, but they do need to pay a parking fee in order to park on campus each semester. On top of people commuting, UWGB is concerned about commuters not being overly involved on campus, but Goggins states, “I don’t have a hard time forming relationships because I met most of my good friends in the communication department at UWGB.” UWGB offers the same opportunities to students whether they live on campus or off campus and tries to be as inclusive as possible.
While commuting may work for some, other students shed light on why they live on campus and the perks it provides. Annie Mason, a senior from California, lives on campus because she doesn’t have a method of transportation due to being far away from home and enjoys “being close to friends” and likes not worrying about “being excluded from campus activities. A grad student, Savanna Hayes, also from California, says that she likes being on campus, especially during the winter, because “I do not know how to drive in the snow very well and prefer not to drive in the snow.” Hayes also mentioned the perks of living in an on-campus apartment because apartment’s “come all furnished and utility bills are included” which helps eliminate the stress of purchasing extra furniture and high utility bills. Hayes has spent all four years on campus and found living on campus was the most convenient. Another UWGB student, Grace Miller, a junior, is an athlete on campus and finds that campus allows her “to be close to friends and soccer without having to worry about driving every day and using gas.” Miller also mentions that while living on campus, she is “able to go home for the summer and winter breaks without worrying about her off-campus housing.” Miller also mentions that next year she hopes to move off campus “because although campus has been very convenient, it will be nice to have a place of my own”.
Commuting to campus was made accessible by the UWGB campus, along with efforts being made to keep commuters engaged in activities happening on campus. Students believe that despite commuting, they are still able to engage in activities and make friends like those students who live on campus. While still expecting to pay parking pass fees, they still save money which is what they had hoped for.