by Chelsea Hamilton
Take a minute and think about the past few years you have spent here at the Mount. Now, think back to your favorite memory of college.
Who exactly was there with you?
When I think back on my years here at the Mount, one of my favorite memories from college was just a typical Saturday night. I went out to Swim house with a ton of friends, and while there was nothing that stood out that night, I will always remember it as the most fun I have ever had on campus. Looking back, many of the people who were there that night were commuters.
Seniors’ email accounts have been flooded constantly with reminders to buy our caps and gowns, RSVP to graduation, and register for senior week. The past four years have built up to this time, but instead of being overjoyed with the prospect of graduation, I am instead frustrated and disappointed with MSMC, Student Activities and Residence Life in particular.
Commuters, students who are just as much a part of this school as residents, are not allowed to live on campus for Senior Week.
Every year, Student Activities plans “Senior Week.” It consists of a few days of activities and events for the graduating seniors, and it feels like a rite of passage to finally be able to attend.
I have spent the last four years building friendships I will carry with me for the rest of my life, with both resident and commuter students. Why is it, then, that those commuter students who have been just as much a part of the school community, are not allowed to stay on campus for three nights?
There are more than enough rooms on campus for commuters to be able to stay. In fact, during orientation, both resident and commuter students are required to stay on campus to get ready to come to college and meet their classmates. If commuters have to stay on campus for orientation, then why not for graduation as well?
It is possible Residence Life does not think it is fair for residents, who have paid room and board, to let commuters stay for free. No one is asking them to allow the commuters to stay for free. If Residence Life would be willing to negotiate, a compromise can surely be reached. Why not ask the commuters who wish to stay on campus to pay a $100 fee to cover their room cost for the three nights? If the option was given, most senior commuters would jump at the chance to be allowed to stay on campus with their friends.
It is no secret that Senior Week activities involve alcohol. By allowing commuter students to participate in the activities, but not giving them a safe place to stay, commuter students are now put at risk.
Marist College, located 20 minutes east across the river, hosts a very similar senior week. Looking at their schedule posted online, the activities Marist provides for their students are almost identical to those available to seniors at the Mount. However, there is one glaring difference.
Marist welcomes and encourages their commuter students to attend these events, and provides them housing for a week. The same is true for Saint Thomas Aquinas College’s senior week, which welcomes commuters for an extended stay of six nights. If these colleges, so close and similar to ours, can find a way to open housing to commuters for a longer period of time than the Senior Week here at MSMC, then certainly the college could find some way to accommodate our commuters.
Many underclassmen may be wondering what this has to do with them. True, they may not even be thinking about graduation yet, but if nothing is done, in a year, two years, or whenever you graduate, they will be faced with this same dilemma. What may not seem like a big deal now will seem like a big deal in a few short years if nothing changes.
For some reason, our Residence Life directors have decided that commuters cannot spend their last week as students at MSMC with their friends.
Commuters are no less a part of this community than any resident. Seniors, underclassmen, make your voices heard. Send emails, talk to your class representatives, or visit the Student Activities and Residence Life office and let it be known that you are not happy with this decision. Residence life and the entire faculty and staff at Mount Saint Mary College cannot ignore the wishes of the entire student body.