No one told me the college experience would feel like waiting at the doctor’s office.
Framingham State is, by many accounts, an exceptional school. Our history spans centuries, our professors are some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met, and once 6:30 p.m. or so hits, campus comes alive with a variety of extracurricular opportunities.
But between that time and classes, there’s one glaring problem.
Save for homework and academic clubs, or perhaps twiddling your thumbs while waiting for your next class, there’s little for commuters to do. It’s a snoozefest – looking out the window in Hemenway Annex, you can almost make out the visage of tumbleweeds rolling across the lawn.
Commuters deserve better, given how crucial they are to Framingham’s business model. With the usnews.com Best College Rankings claiming that “54 percent of students live off-campus,” at FSU, and declining rates of student enrollment, according to Director of Communications Dan Magazu, – creating more midday events and activities would help retain the students FSU depends on.
As most clubs and activities are at night, a commuter’s hectic schedule often hampers them from participating. Junior Toni Resendes said her busy part-time job prevented her from joining nighttime clubs, and as a result, she felt “left out” from the broader campus culture. “I feel like I have a different experience compared to a resident student,” she said.
Fifth-year undergrad Julia Beauregard puts it more bluntly: “It feels like the residents are only friends with residents and commuters are only friends with commuters,” she said. And while she expressed strong interest in getting involved on campus, the lack of midday opportunities that would accommodate her schedule left her feeling alienated from residents, who have spaces like residence halls and nighttime clubs to connect with each other.
For a school that prides itself on its affordability, working while going to school should not be prohibitive to campus involvement. FSU markets itself as the “fRAMily,” but the inconvenient times of social offerings on campus makes many commuter students feel estranged.
Of course, making more midday events doesn’t mean that everyone will go. We all have different classes schedules, so the logic of keeping clubs later in the day does make sense. And, I won’t pretend to speak for all commuters. “I feel that if you truly want to be a part of something, you can make it work,” junior Katie Brewer said.
But the disconnect many commuters note is still concerning, and a concerted effort to offer social and recreational opportunities at better times for them would make significant strides in solving this issue.
I’m not saying Framingham should overhaul its entire extracurricular system. Still, a few more midday events on a regular basis would instill a sense of school connection and pride FSU deserves. For commuters, let’s make campus more than just a place to go to-and-from class.
Let’s give them more to look forward to.