Commuter Corner: Making time for campus commuters

As a commuter most of my days are spent at Rider, which means that I spend less than a quarter of my waking hours at home.  I work on campus, attend meetings for various student-run organizations, help run the Public Relations Society (PRS) and try to make it to campus events whenever possible. Yet some organizations hold events that make it difficult for a commuter like myself to attend.

Almost every single comedian that comes to our campus is scheduled for 10 p.m. While the chosen late-night time slot is understandable because it avoids class conflict, it makes attending undesirable for commuters. When you have to drive home every day, sticking around or attending the event after night class would mean spending additional hours on campus.

That’s not to say the Student Entertainment Council (SEC) has an anti-commuter bias. In fact, its vice president Mike O’Brien is a commuter, and there are other commuters in SEC as well who work hard to bring various forms of entertainment to campus or organize in-house events.  The organization’s adviser Nick Barbati was a commuter during part of his own Rider years and also serves as the adviser to the Association of Commuting Students (ACS). My criticism is that the SEC seems to always end up scheduling entertaining events at the same times.

I will admit that I do not know much of the booking process for these events. However, booking the entertainment for the same time frame means that the same demographic will be able to go each and every time they are held.

SEC is not alone in this practice, though. Other student organizations meet at later times in the evening as well. As the PRS secretary I understand that it is virtually impossible to find a time that works for everyone, much less be able to book your preferred venue for it. However, it seems that some organizations are stuck in their ways.

I offer a solution, instead of just offering up complaints. Considering how easy it is to send campus-wide messages, a poll to gauge when students are both available and willing to attend events should be conducted. This data can then be analyzed by the responders’ demographics, with equal consideration given to the responses of students who live off campus versus those who live on campus. Or an organization can try holding an event normally scheduled for Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Friday at 4 p.m. and check attendance numbers to see if there is a difference.

College is a place where we are supposed to learn to think outside the box when necessary. I trust that my fellow Rider students are more than capable of rising to the challenge here, to hold events at times when most people are able to attend. Open periods, like after 3:30 p.m. on Friday, are all examples of scheduling alternatives.

While there is no guarantee these times will work better, a little trial and error seems worth a shot to be able to include more of the Rider community.

-Jess Scanlon

Senior journalism major


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