The Conversing Commuter: Commuters a big part of campus life

By Jessica Scanlon

What does one-third of the undergrad community of Rider University have in common? What does the entire post-grad community have in common? What do both groups have in common? Unable to figure it out? They all commute!

A commuter is defined as a student who does not live in any of the residence halls. However, do not dismiss this group as simply a bunch of people still living with Mom and Dad. They are part of a diverse community, ranging from students who live in nearby apartments to others with long commutes back and forth to Rider every single day. The question is, why do these students choose not to live on campus? Why wouldn’t they just choose to live in a residence hall where there is no travel time beyond the walk to class?

According to the Rider University Web site, a room deposit for the fall semester is $200 and the cost per semester for a double room, the least expensive option for most students, is $3,030 per semester. For a student attending the university for both the fall and spring semesters, the total cost for housing alone is $6,260. This is the cost only to live at Rider. Some of the other costs consist of a resident meal plan, the $250 Student Activities Fee, books, etc. These costs are also secondary to the $27,140 tuition rate. For a student who lives a short distance from Rider, such as in Lawrenceville, Ewing, Hamilton or any other town in the immediate area, the cost of housing is not worth it compared to the cost of commuting, which is usually under $3,000 per year.

While it is understandable that any student who is from further away than Mercer County, from another state, or even from another country will need to have housing on campus, if you live locally, commuting is a perfectly valid option as a Rider student. Commuters are actively involved on campus. There is an entire organization, the Association of Commuting Students (ACS), dedicated to connecting commuter students to the Rider community. We have Commuter Assistants, CAs, who assist students with any problem that may arise or to answer any questions about attending Rider. Beyond that, they join organizations and clubs, are honors students, make the Dean’s List, play on teams, work on the Rider campus, become involved in fine and performing arts, and some even go Greek.

“Commuters have been homecoming queens and kings,” said Dean of Students Anthony Campbell.

Regardless of whether you live on or off campus, Rider students are here for one reason primarily: to get an education in order to fulfill our various career goals. So when it comes down to that core reason, does it really matter who sleeps in a residence hall and who does not? The college experience is what you make of it regardless of your status as a resident or a commuter. Go make it a great one. Attend class, work hard and do not be afraid to have some responsible fun.

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