Collegium not enough for commuters

Planning around Seattle’s unpredictable traffic, searching for a parking spot in a fluster and running to class before being marked late again are just a few of the struggles commuters endure.

They also have to deal with that disapproving glare from professors who probably assume they just overslept and recently rolled out of bed after arriving to class late and out of breath.

Senior Jacob Stephens is all too familiar with the struggles of being a commuter.

Stephens travels from Northgate to SPU, which is about an hour drive in rush-hour traffic.

Stephens’ biggest hassle is finding a spot to park his full size Toyota Tundra.

Stephens says 90 percent of the parking spots on campus won’t fit his large truck, or any other large car for that matter.

Stephens also feels as if it doesn’t even occur to his professors to take into account the fact that he doesn’t live on campus.

“Not unless they’ve seen me driving do professors even consider that I’m a commuter,” he says.

Further adding to the daily struggles faced by commuters, Stephens says his professors have assigned projects or assignments that require students to attend school events outside of class at odd hours.

As if commuting to and from school everyday wasn’t difficult already.
What college student has the extra time to spend on travel for an assignment only worth 10 or 20 points?

One might ask, “well, what about the Collegium? Isn’t that a place where commuters can go and hangout so they don’t need to drive back and forth?”

While the Collegium is advertised as a “home away from home” for SPU commuters, it is limited to those with a membership.

At the beginning of each academic year, commuter students are asked to apply for a membership, and not everyone is admitted access to the Collegium due to limited space.

According to the SPU website, nearly half of SPU undergraduates commute to campus from the Seattle area and beyond.

In 2015 there were 4,175 students enrolled at SPU. Nearly half of them were commuters: that leaves us with roughly 2,000 students who commute to SPU.

So, obviously 2,000 students aren’t going to be granted membership to a lounge that can hardly accommodate 80 people.

This means the unlucky students that aren’t granted memberships go without a place to store their lunch, to cook food they’ve brought from home or to simply rest and relax.

It would be far easier for commuters to hangout on campus if they all had a place they could actually call a “home away from home.”

Senior Cindy Pham lives in Magnolia, and her commute to campus is roughly 10 minutes, but she claims to experience similar struggles to Stephens’.

Her proposition to alleviate some of those struggles? Make the Collegium open to all commuters.

Although Pham lives close to campus, she still doesn’t always have time to drive back to her apartment, and sometimes she needs a place where she can keep her lunch and simply heat it up.

Pham also expressed that since the SUB is always so full, it would be nice to have a place where she could go, relax and get some peace and quiet in between classes.

With so many students commuting to SPU, one would think the university would accommodate them by adding additional parking areas with larger spots and more lounges so every day doesn’t have to be such a fight.

In light of the struggles commuters face, SPU is simply not a commuter friendly school.

And until major improvements are made, commuters must face not just the stress of college, but also the stress of the commute.

Kailey Sommerdorf is a senior journalism major.

This article was posted in the section Opinion.

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