Cassandra Matthews ~ Assistant Editor
Commuter students at the University of Lynchburg are being invited to participate in Commuter Appreciation Week (CAW) with events occurring on campus Sept. 15 through Sept. 18.
Brennan Gourley is the program and advising coordinator for second-year and transfer transition initiatives. Part of her role is working with non-traditional students, which includes commuter students.
Gourley explained that there are four events taking place for this semester’s CAW: a grab-and-go cupcake event on Tuesday, a lunch for commuters on Wednesday, a grab-and-go soup event on Thursday, and a movie-themed trivia night on Friday.
Many of these events have been done before in the past, though the commuter lunch will operate differently this time. Gourley said, “We know those are very popular with commuter students, and we are super excited to be able to offer that again. It looks a little different this year to how it looked in the past. [Commuters will] still come in the East Room entrance, like we have done in the past, but instead of eating in that room all together, they will grab their food to go, and then they can go to the [Memorial Ballroom] and eat all together. [Also] they can get their second mask that was made by the Sewcial Hornet initiative so we will be handing those out as well.”
Safety is being thought of and implemented with all CAW events. Gourley explained, “The reason we are not able to offer [the commuter lunch] I guess as it typically looks is that the room that we have used in the past, the dining hall, is now using as prep for their quarantine meals, [but we still wanted to offer it so] we had to ask around a little bit on campus, and the ballroom was open so we were able to move that. [We are] making sure that we are wiping everything down when we get there. If there is food, which a lot of the commuter appreciation events have, [it is] done in a safe manner, like for the cupcake event they will be individually packaged so they will just be grab-and-go. People who are staffing the table, they will have the gloves and everything on as well. Masks of course, too. So definitely making sure that all the protocols and guidelines are followed [to] keep everyone safe but then also so we can still offer these events for commuters as opposed to not being able to offer anything […] Events still need to be happening as safely as possible for commuter students to participate in and feel a part of the campus community as a whole.”
Rachel Garnett is the president of the Commuter Student Association, a student-led organization that promotes the interests of the university’s commuter students. She said, “Commuter Appreciation Week is all about realizing what an impact our commuters have on campus and making sure they feel represented.”
Both Gourley and Garnett recognize CAW as a time for commuter students to be reminded of opportunities they have to get involved and strengthen their bond with the community. “I really hope to see a lot of commuters come out to it and participate in it,” said Gourley. “Our commuters are very busy with different commitments, whether it be school or work [or] things off campus as well, so just taking time to come by and snag a cupcake or come and grab a bite to eat with other commuters, [and] kind of have that community with one another, but also seeing that our office is here as a resource to them as well, too. So hopefully we will get to meet some commuters maybe we have not seen face to face [and] get to kind of build that relationship with them, and show them that we are a resource for them, and that we really appreciate them [and] have some really cool opportunities for them to be part of as well.”
Garnett said, “I hope that CAW enables our commuters to feel appreciated and welcomed on campus, and know they have people looking out for them, and resources they can look into. [CAW is] a week that really just gets to show commuters how much the campus appreciates them, and that they have this entire board [the Commuter Student Association] just looking out for them and devoted to their college experience and making sure it is the best it can be.”
For more information on the resources available to commuter students, please visit https://www.lynchburg.edu/undergraduate-admission/new-students/first-year-programs/commuter-students/