Webster University must make an effort to keep transfers and commuters on campus
By Kendra Hicks
Students at Webster University all have one thing in common. We are here to graduate and find a job. But there is something that separates us: some of us live on campus and the rest commute.
The commuter students don’t always feel as important as the residents. Campus activities, seminars and club meetings usually revolve around students who live on campus.
When these activities try to involve commuter students, they are usually scheduled around 7 p.m. and, after a full day of classes, most commuters like myself are ready to go home and not come back until the next day.
I would love to go to more campus events. But usually I’m at work, or my class ended four hours ago and I don’t want to drive back to campus. Gas isn’t cheap.
I transferred from St. Louis Community College-Forest Park where everyone was a commuter student. That had its perks. Campus events were always held around noon, when most classes would end, and go to 2 p.m. when classes started back up again. Campus events were also done around this time because students who were in the age group of 18 to 25 would attend class during the day, and the age group of 30 to 50 would attend class after 5 p.m.
Most Forest Park students usually knew what was going on around campus. I’ve noticed that around Webster’s campus a lot of the commuter students don’t always know about upcoming events.
Whether it be the lax publicity regarding the new commuter lounge (seriously, how many people knew where that was before they put the sign up?) or weekly outings led by student activities; commuters are out of the loop.
Another perk about being on a commuter campus is the parking. At Forest Park, you had your choice of parking. There was no giving parking lots away to theater patrons, or giving permission for other schools to park in your lot.
The best thing about parking was that parking passes were free.
I will be the first to admit that a commuter-friendly college isn’t always so great. Being at Webster has proven to be a better experience than my previous school.
At Forest Park, if you had an issue you needed to be handled by the registrar, financial aid or the business office you wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone until 10 a.m.
What’s worse is that they wouldn’t even open on time some days. It wasn’t unusual to see students waiting until they finally decided to open.
Teachers weren’t that accessible to students after class whether it was by phone, email or in person.
Most of the teachers there are part-time and may not have offices. I had a teacher tell the class that he doesn’t have an office or a phone and doesn’t use the email the school provided for him. I took that as “good luck with this class.”
Signage is not a way of life. At Webster, there are signs everywhere for everything: sidewalk chalk, flyers and Facebook groups tell you what’s going on around campus.
At Forest Park, no simple signs are posted telling students when they need to withdraw from a class to get money back or when you need to petition to graduation.
The registrar’s office tells you to look online at some outdated chart. Then you are told this is on all the fliers around campus. You should have known.
Why didn’t you ask your teacher? My response was, “I can’t ask my teacher when he leaves the class faster than I do.”
Webster may not do its best to keep the commuter students up to date, but as of late they are trying to keep us informed. There is now a commuter student/transfer student council that keeps students on top of the issues that affect them the most.
The commuter/transfer student council also plans on sponsoring some events this semester.
By the commuter/transfer student council sponsoring events could get commuters more involved in activities at school.
Maybe Webster is noticing that not every commuter student is interest in running home after class is over.