CSA looks to rebuild, reach out to commuters

Article by: Derek Anderson

After being almost non-existent for the past year or so, Suffolk’s Commuter Student Association (CSA) has begun to rebuild with high hopes and big plans.

Due to lack of funding and a deteriorated e-board, the CSA has suffered from small numbers and low turnouts.

“Basically, we’re supposed to be as big as PC (Program Council) and SGA (Student Government Association) because 75 percent of Suffolk is commuters. It is disturbing to me how small we are,” said Cate Connerty, the newly elected president of the CSA.

According to the CSA advisor, Kyle Dooley, the failure of their previous e-board was due to the lack of planning from a past president who was on the verge of graduating and lost the passion to keep the group going. “The biggest thing was the president leaving. He had kind of lost the passion for it. It’s a tough group, because the big thing with commuters is that they are not connected to the campus initially by being in a residence hall. It’s hard to get a lot of students very involved with it. He didn’t necessarily set up the e-board for the next year,” said Dooley.

Dooley then tried to fill the e-board with new commuter students. “We reached out to a couple of students that we knew commuted, asking them to really take hold of it and it just wasn’t there for passion,” stated Dooley. “It wasn’t a bad group or anything negative, it was just they were involved students, and that’s how we knew them, who put things like SGA first. That’s just where their passions were so they couldn’t devote the time to it.“

The e-board soon broke down to nothing and the members resigned. “We had a discussion and they decided to leave and we found this new e-board,” said Dooley. “We just needed to find the students that really wanted to be the commuter’s voice.”

With the new e-board, the CSA has gotten itself back on track and has started to move toward its goals. The current e-boardis comprised of Jonathan Walsh, who was president, KyQuan Phong as vice president, Cate Connerty as treasurer, and Skye Lewis as secretary. The group has slowly gotten the organization back on its feet.

With the new semester coming, the CSA held elections for positions on next year’s e-board. Cate Connerty was elected the new president, Ray DeLeon as vice president, Jonathan Walsh as treasurer and Skye Lewis as secretary. The new group has big plans for the future.

“What I’m going to try to do is bridge that gap,” said Connerty. “I’ve done all three: I lived in the dorms, I lived in an apartment and now I commute from home. What I want to work on is getting commuters involved. I want them to go to PC meetings, I want them to go to my meetings and I want them to enjoy being at Suffolk. I want them to enjoy coming here because that’s what it’s all about.”

Still, with all their plans, the CSA will have to make due with their budget of $1,000. Since the organization did not have a budget the year before, it is mandatory they start with the $1,000 budget.

“We just got approved for a budget of $1,000. It’s not good, it’s not good at all,” said Connerty. “We want to put on some great events, which is really hard with our budget, so we’ll stick to coffee events.”

“They have big dreams and a small budget. They want to do a lot of co-sponsoring events.  They just want to get their name out there,” said Dooley.

The CSA has put on several small “coffee events” this year to help students get through their week. They raffled off free Bruins tickets during their largest event of the year. With their small budget, however, the CSA foresees problems.

“We’ll probably go to Initiatives a lot,” said Connerty. “I want to put on events like the Bruins game event. Things like that. I want to do a Red Sox game, something that will get commuters to want to be a part of our organization. We’re pretty important, and we should be more important than we are, and people just don’t know about us. We don’t have that great of a rep right now and that’s something I’m really looking to change.”

Reputation is just another one of the CSA’s goals for the upcoming semester. Even with their recent struggles to return back to an organization status, the group continues to put on events and work with students. The CSA plans to hold a good luck breakfast the week before finals on April 26 in the Donahue Building from 8 to 10 a.m.  They will be giving away Dunkin Donuts coffee, bagels and doughnuts.

“We want to make sure [commuters] have the same experiences and opportunities as other students,” said Director of Student Leadership and Involvement David DeAngelis. “There’s a lot of potential with the group next year.”

As the CSA moves closer to their goals, the e-board continues to reach out to the student population. “Think about it,” said Connerty. “The relationships you make, the networking that you do, the people that you meet, your advisors, your friends all help you in the long run. Why not get involved in the university? If you’re going to come to college, do it. Do the whole thing.”