Commuters struggle with staying connected to campus

Off campus students continue to find community alternatives in order to remain involved in the student body.

Students+show+their+OCC+pride+as+they+dance+around+at+Nation+Ball.

Students show their OCC pride as they dance around at Nation Ball.

Candace Guereque, Writer

Students show their OCC pride as they dance during Nationball. | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES
 

Updated: Oct. 2 at 12:50 p.m.

This article originally reported an incorrect number of OCC senators and has been corrected to reflect that there are five senators for the off-campus apartments. The Chimes regrets this error.
 

Resident Life provides on-campus students with a tight-knit community that cannot be ignored, yet the opportunities provided for commuter students go unnoticed.

Whether they have experienced on-campus life before or have always lived in off-campus housing, commuter students face both difficulties and perks in being part of the off-campus community. While they do find it more challenging to get involved in student life at Biola, they also have much more availability for non-Biola commitments.  

“I used to live on campus, but now I live off campus not too far from here,” senior physical education major Kyle Lee said. “It gives me more time to invest in other things, like I coach wrestling at Eastside Christian School.”

FINDING COMMUNITY OFF CAMPUS 

After experiencing residence life in previous years, many upperclassmen feel comfortable renting a house around the block with friends. For instance, junior elementary education major Taylor Marcucci lives in a house with eight of her friends close to campus.

“We’re like our own little community,” said Marcucci.

The group of girls she lives with often hang out with other students who live off-campus as well. Although she loves her current community with off-campus residents she does miss the close community she experienced last year as a resident advisor in Stewart Hall, said Marcucci.  However, working on campus provides a good way to get to know her peers and stay involved in the campus community.

“One thing that helps me stay connected now though is that I work on campus,” Marcucci said, who works at the coffee cart in Sutherland courtyard.

The off-campus students must also make time for simple things that many people living on campus may take for granted.

“Having to buy groceries, pay bills and manage your money on a daily basis really prepares you well for life on your own financially,” said junior public relations major Hailey Burkhard.

EVENT ALTERNATIVES

Although Biola offers many ways to get connected, their presence off-campus rather than in the dorms makes it harder to find out when events happen, said several off-campus students.

Three Associated Student senators, totaling to 5 when added to those who work with the Biola-owned off-campus apartments, coordinate events and hangouts for the off-campus community providing the students an equal opportunity to get involved as those on campus. They provide donuts at Good Morning OCC every other Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the bells. At this event, off-campus students can chat with the senators, get updated on upcoming events and grab a quick bite to eat in-between classes.

The Collegium offers another unique opportunity for off-campus students, providing a comfortable space where off-campus students can relax, study and participate in a community with other commuters.

“The Collegium is kind of like a dorm without being a dorm,” senior business major Daniel Chicas said. “We have just as much community and events to keep us busy.”

The Collegium sits on the right side of the Upper SUB ready for off-campus students before, in between and after classes, with big couches, polished hardwood floors and usually a fresh batch of cookies sitting on the kitchen counter. Students have access to all the computers, printers and any kitchen storage they would need, as they would in the dorms. They also post up a calendar of different Bible studies and events for off-campus students to join.

Considering the fast-paced college environment, the off-campus students, each on their journey, have just as much opportunity for community outside the residence halls.

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