By Chelzea Worrent
SUNY Purchase is a relatively small school, holding about 3,695 people in its student body. While more than two-thirds of these students live on campus in one of the nine residential spaces, there are some students that chose to commute to Purchase while they attend classes here.
Among those students is Emily Koziarz, a sophomore majoring in arts management. She wasn’t open to the prospect of living with other people, wanted to save money, and happens to live only 15 minutes away from campus, so commuting simply seemed like a given. When asked how much time she spends on campus that isn’t for a class of some sort, Koziarz said that she’s rarely on campus when there isn’t a class she has to attend. She’s perfectly fine with doing all her homework and studying from the comfort of her home.
Koziarz is also not involved in any clubs here at Purchase, stating that it feels inconvenient to do so since she’s not living on campus, but she feels okay about it. She does however come to campus for parties with friends, albeit not very often.
Having privacy and personal space is something Koziarz values, listing them as pros of being a commuter student in college. In terms of cons, she feels that there aren't enough networking opportunities for commuter students. “
My biggest issue is the condition of the parking lots,” she said. Koziarz, like many other students both on campus and off, feel that the parking lots are not maintained properly. Overall though, she feels that the school is welcoming and accessible to her and other commuter students.
Another sophomore, Josiah Acheampong, commutes for similar reasons. Purchase is close to home, and he couldn’t deny the money he could save by commuting to school. He’s on campus for not much time outside of class; meeting for this interview was actually his first time in the campus library, but this semester he’s aiming to change that.
“I want to be on campus more,” Acheampong admitted. “I want to associate with more people my age."
Acheampong is also not a member of any clubs, though it’s not because he doesn’t wish to be. It’s simply not possible with the schedule he’s on. He has two jobs outside of campus, working at both the Jewish Community Center and Red Lobster as a supervisor. Among work responsibilities he also has obligations to his family and religion that take up a majority of his time.
Though he could technically still register for a club, Acheampong doesn’t wish to sign up for something that he doesn’t have the means to turn his full attention to. “If I’m gonna invest my time in something, I wanna give it my best effort,” he said, and with the way his time is already kept on such a tight schedule, after school clubs are out of the question.
Acheampong’s interests are more aligned within journalism and computer science, so he’s “not crazy” about attending them. He does however go to parties, and has been to a few so far.
Like Koziarz, he appreciates the personal space he gets with being a stay-at-home student. “There’s also this sense of freedom that comes from being able to leave campus,” he said.
The money saved on food and housing is another noted plus. There is although, the issue of traffic on 87. According to Acheampong the 15 minute drive to school can often turn into a half an hour one.
“There could be better outreach,” he also notes. “They have the commuter center but it’s always empty.” In his opinion, faculty and admissions don’t make an effort to convince commuters to really be a part of the campus.
For commuter students like Koziarz and Acheampong, the experiences at Purchase are varied. Some try to put more effort into being on campus while others are fine with spending most of their time away from school. We all have our own objectives to get through in college; both commuter and residential students alike. What matters most is that we’re all treated as one student body, no matter where we are living.