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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Campus

Commuter program helps students stay in touch with campus life


Commuters at UH make up about 85 percent of the student population. They face struggles such as scarce parking, unpredictable traffic and a lack of time to engage in campus activities, which sometimes affects their performance in class and keeps them from experiencing all college has to offer.

Beginning this year, UH offers a program specifically designed to provide support to commuters. The Commuter Assistant Program aims to improve the connection between commuters and the University, making it easier to engage and develop a sense of belonging — usually exclusive to those living on campus.

Political science senior and commuter Estefania Rodriguez said she rides 26 miles to UH every day on the Metro bus, but she still found ways to get involved.

“There are always solutions to problems like traffic, parking and long distances,” she said, adding that they do not take away the importance of committing to the University.

“I think that the more we start using public transportation, the more reliable and better the service will be, given that the demand will go up, so we can have all the chances to get more involved into the UH culture and lifestyle,” Rodriguez said.

Students load the bus at the PGH circle drive. The commuter club pays 25 percent of the cost for members to ride the Metro. | Hannah Laamoumi/The Daily Cougar

Many commuters have trouble participating in student activities on campus. | File Photo/The Cougar

The program works by pairing commuter students with student leaders. Commuter Assistants — CAs — become responsible for a small group of commuters and meet with them as a group. CAs host individual meetings to connect with commuters and provide each one with exclusive assistance.

Head Commuter Assistant Shanice Shipp said that she started commuting after realizing how expensive it was for her to live in the dorms.

“It wasn’t until then that I became aware of the constant struggles commuters face,” Shipp said.  “I always felt there was a lack of information among commuter students, and campus events were always a last minute thing.”

Shipp said that one of CAP’s main focuses is to help incoming freshmen make the transition from high school and feel connected to UH, even if they do not live on campus.

“Being able to reach out and impact the life of our fellow Coogs to break the monotonous cycle of simply coming to campus and going home is a reward in itself,” Shipp said. “Students can discover their place here at UH and make this much more than a commuter school.”

For more information about the Commuter Assistant Program, visit uh.edu/commuter/ca/.

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