When you’re living on campus, getting involved isn’t that big of a deal. You join a yoga club because you have nothing to do at 6 p.m. and why would you want to go back to a boring dorm?
Maybe if you’re inclined to be introverted this doesn’t quite happen, but anyone that craves being around others will attend this club.
However, it’s not quite the same if you’re spending the money to drive to and from campus, for a half-hour activity.
This is an issue that has affected me personally because, for example, I can’t make every meeting for the Merciad because my commute is roughly 20 minutes. If we do the simple math, that’s 40 minutes of driving total.
That is enough to dissuade me from going during busy exam weeks because it’s a considerable time commitment, and not to mention it could be flat-out unsafe in the winter.
One must also remember that us commuters must go there and back during the day, subtracting another 40 minutes away from studying time. With distance comes more apathy when it comes to getting involved, and that could even lead to an advantage for the students who attend clubs regularly.
This edge takes the form of people on campus having simply more connections. For instance, they might know people in a class where a commuter would only see strangers. Forming bonds with other students is harder when you can not just walk down the hall to find friends and talk to them.
This can be counteracted, but must be met with a lot of effort to keep up with.
Here lies the center of my argument — that commuters must expend much more effort than those living on campus for the same advantages.
Admir Barucija, a freshman commuter, tends to agree, and said, “Commuting makes it harder to be involved on campus, but I don’t let that stop me. I try to be a part of any club or organization that interests me and attend any events I have time for. It can be inconvenient to drive to Mercyhurst multiple times on some days, but I always manage to have fun while I’m there, which makes everything worthwhile,” he said.
There’s a clear divide between those students who have to spend more than 40 minutes to arrive at campus, and those who can roll out of bed and be in Old Main.
Maybe there’s nothing that can be done to fix this clear discrepancy, but it might be OK. Those commuters who do get involved will savor the benefits a lot more when they commit their valuable time.
The extra willpower of those driving from far away will more than outweigh the advantages of not thinking about attending club meetings.