Commuter Commission aims to be welcoming
Hunter Lyle – Reporter
Large round tables, draped in blue table cloths and covered in white flowers, filled the ballroom of the Adanti Student Center on Thursday. As the second Commuter Luncheon of the semester began, students were already standing around the edges of the room, talking and mingling.
More commuter students made their way into the ballroom, ready to enjoy the complementary catered lunch that was waiting for them. The buffet-style meal included: various salads, chicken nuggets, potato bites, and both vegetable and barbeque chicken wraps. Also available were beverages and other small snacks for all attendees.
The Commuter Luncheon is a student event sponsored by the school; this event has been held at Southern for over four years. The luncheon, held several times throughout a semester, and is specifically geared towards commuter students. The event allows these students to mingle, learn more about Southern, and enjoy sharing some free catered food.
“I think the Commuter Luncheon is a really cool program, I am very pleased that Southern has these events,” said first year graduate student Kelsey Jepsen. “A lot of commuters don’t have the time or the money to get lunch on campus, and a lot of us don’t bring our own lunch, so the free lunch is great.”
The Commuter Luncheon is put on once a month by the Commuter Commission Organization. Their page on Southern’s website describes some of the events catered to commuter students. The page lists Wake Up Wednesdays, the Commuter Luncheon, and soon-to-be Commuter Appreciation Week.
According to Commuter Commissioner Sandy Britton, these special events,
which happen often, are intended to help commuter students make friends. Britton said the Commuter Commission has meetings every month that are dedicated to planning events for Southern students not living in the campus community.
“We always have a commissioner, which is me right now, but the role was given to others in the past,” said Britton. “I, as the commissioner, lead the monthly meeting with the help of certain E-Board members.”
Britton said students do not need have to be a member to come their meetings, and express their ideas or concerns.
“Any other commuter students from Southern, no matter what grade they are in,” said Britton, “can come to that meeting and give us their advice and input.”
Britton said the commission strives to make the food served at the Commuter Luncheon enjoyable for all students. According to Britton, the members make sure that every catered meal comes
from a different local venue, so that the commuter students can enjoy variety and discover new cuisines.
“I hope they appreciate the food that’s being offered, but I also want them to feel like they are involved in some way,” said Britton.
There are some times when every table is packed, Britton said, with all types of different people.
“Sometimes, I see people talking to people they just met, and eating with them,” Britton said, “which is the whole point of having the events.”
Going forward, she said, the Commuter Commission is looking to have certain on campus clubs and student organizations take part in the Commuter Luncheon.
“We have proposed a new initiative in which we will have various clubs and organizations sponsor the Commuter Luncheon,” said Charlotte MacDonald, a graduate intern. “It will be an opportunity for people to learn about new clubs and see if they are interested in joining.”
According to Britton, this addition to the luncheon will help further immerse commuter students in the many opportunities available at Southern. MacDonald said she expects the Greek life immersion into the luncheon to excite students.
“I think it is going to be a great way for commuter students to learn about clubs and events on campus and not feel isolated,” said MacDonald.
These clubs and organizations, going forward, would be able to set up a booth during the luncheon, and have the opportunity to advertise their events, according to MacDonald.
“We want to create a space where everyone feels welcomed,” said Britton, “and commuter students feel like they are getting a real college experience.”
Photo Credit: Hunter Lyle