Commuter students at Queens face a significant issue with parking and also challenges with being able to properly acclimate to the Queens community.
Queens has taken several measures in an effort to resolve the commuter parking issues. A new policy implemented during the current academic year prohibits first-year students from having cars on campus. According to John Downey, dean of students, Queens also holds a lottery every year to allow a certain number of commuter students in the Byrum parking deck.
According to Downey, several additional parking spaces were added and policies enacted to keep residential students focused in the Byrum parking deck to allow commuter students to have more convenient parking all around the campus. Queens also made efforts in working out plans with the city to allow students to park on the streets.
Queens has monitored levels of engagement in residential students versus commuter students and the level of participation from residential students is higher, Downey said, although he does not see it as a big concern. He mentioned how there have been student body presidents, campus union presidents, and honor council presidents who have been commuter students through the years, which proves that campus involvement is possible.
The issue commuter students endure is not completely feeling acclimated with the campus environment. Allegedly, this feeling is mainly because of the campus events being held at later times that would require commuter students to either prolong their stay on campus or leave campus and return later to attend the events. “It takes that extra effort on the part of commuter students, and sometimes they’re not always willing to make that extra effort,” said Downey.
“We have given suggestions to commuter students on how to be more engaged,” said Downey. He also said he would double down on those suggestions for next year, because of the upcoming changes to Trexler center and dining options.
He encouraged students to select a commuter block plan for meals because they allow students to be in the dining hall. The commuter block plans roll over from year to year, which differs from residential plans and makes it more convenient for commuters.
More options have been provided for students to lounge on campus, such as Rex’s Lair and Rogers room in the Levine Center, where Einstein’s has become a quasi-commuter lounge.
“If you’ve made a decision to live off campus as a senior or commute as a local student then you also then have to make a decision,” said Downey. “Choose to put out that extra little bit of effort.”
Written by Cristina Cabrera Barrientos and Jessica Higgins.