SGA offers forum for commuter students to voice problems

Being one of Suffolk’s commuter students, which makes up 80 percent of the student body, can often leave a student feeling isolated from the campus community. The Student Government Association (SGA) wants to help change that, and that is why it hosted the SGA commuter student open forum Nov. 19, in the C. Walsh Theater, creating a bridge for students, faculty, and the university.

Hosted by SGA President Billy Cerullo and other members of the association, the commuter student open forum began as a Facebook comment that talked about how there is not a real haven for commuter students to congregate.

Many students at the forum suggested commuter students meeting to help bridge the gap.

One student said, “It’s important to have a stepping stone for commuters who are too shy to step out to school sponsored events or to get involved during activities period.”

Some students stated that there is not enough community building events.

Others said the university needs events during the day as well as those during the evening. A student mentor group could help elevate those pressures as also suggested.

Photo courtesy of SGA’s Facebook

“I speak on behalf of SGA when I say that we were happy to see commuter students from various facets of the campus come to voice their concerns and general feedback to their student representatives,” said Cerullo. “As student representatives, we understand the importance of helping every student on campus, and like to pay particular attention to the commuter student, who may face unique difficulties in regards to feeling included on campus.”

Students were asked what they think the difference is “Between being a commuter student and an off-campus student?”

Unanimously, students agreed that those who commute out of Boston are the real commuters and those that live in areas such as the North End, Beacon Hill, etc. are those who are off-campus. Students went on to say that so-called lounges, like the one on the fourth floor of the Donahue building are out of their way and that the hours of the new lounge on the ninth floor simply do not work. Many students felt the desire to form a commuter group; a faculty member suggested resurrecting a defunct Commuter Student Union.

Going around the room, students voiced that things like the MBTA were one of their biggest struggles, while others said that they felt isolated and that maybe there needs to be a reinforcement of the now defunct group, so that new generations of students do not fall into that fray.

“We will continue to work with OCHO moving forward, and appreciate any student feedback as to how we can serve the student body better,” said Cerullo. “Moving forward, we are entertaining the possibility of hosting monthly commuter student socials in the semester to come.”