Keeping commuters connected

The University should create more social and study spaces around campus for commuters.

There are many benefits to living off campus, which is why about 75 percent of University of Minnesota students choose to. Commuting can have many benefits, whether it’s saving money while living with parents, being closer to work or avoiding the many distractions that come with living on campus.

But there are drawbacks to living off campus as well, besides traffic. Commuter students can have a difficult time feeling connected to the University, which could have a negative impact on academic performance.

That’s why the student group Commuter Connection is piloting a new program called Gopher Hall to help freshmen find their place on campus. About 10 percent of students who live off campus are freshmen, and Gopher Hall, which is hosted on a Facebook page, works to foster community, the Minnesota Daily reported Dec. 2.

Though Gopher Hall can help commuter students meet up in person in its present form, we believe the University can do more to help commuters feel connected on campus.

The University could work to create additional physical spaces similar to the Commuter Lounge located on the first floor of Coffman Union and the Commuter Connection space upstairs. More locations around campus would make it easier for commuters to meet other students. 

With more social and study spaces restricted to commuter students only, commuters will have more opportunities to establish friendships that last long after graduation.