Aysha Rahman

Reflections from the Driver’s Seat

Oct
23

This post mentions SLOs, which are described here

At a small, primarily residential campus, it is easy for students who live elsewhere to feel forgotten. Agnes Scott College, like many schools, is a school that emphasizes living on campus, especially to prospective students, as a crucial part of “the college experience.” While it is certainly a good experience for many students, I personally tend to disagree that it is crucial. Commuting to college is a quite normal thing to do, and there are plenty of commuting students who are active and involved in campus life. However, because the college is primarily residential, and because it is true that residential students have greater opportunities for getting involved by virtue of being physically present at all times, it can be difficult for many commuter students to be involved and to feel that they are acknowledged, whether it be in the scheduling process of event programming or even our general day-to-day campus needs as people who do not have a place of our own nearby. That is where the Commuter Student Organization (CSO) comes in. From my sophomore year, I have been the treasurer of the CSO, and I have been involved in the organization from my very first semester. We are a student organization created to advocate for the needs of commuter students, be it negotiating event programming schedules to be accessible to commuters or managing the few commuter-exclusive spaces on campus, or really anything else commuter students voice concerns about. We put on events as well, mostly to raise awareness of issues affecting the greater Atlanta community (since we are all local, after all), and often just to bring students together and foster a sense of community.

Being a part of the CSO has been the most important non-academic part of my college experience. It has taught me a lot about community building, leadership, and, of course, Excel spreadsheets. I’ve even been able to pick up on some SUMMIT learning outcomes: identifying my values, interests, and abilities (8); learning how to recognize, analyze, and employ effective teamwork (7); cultivating and maintaining interpersonal relationships and networks (with other commuter students, alums, and the administration) (12); and identifying, evaluating and strategically utilizing campus and community resources (15).

I had not expected many of the difficulties my peers and I faced being commuters at a school like this, but I was always grateful that a student organization existed to address those issues. As a first year student, I looked up to upperclassmen who were on the executive board of the organization, and quickly found myself trying to get involved and do for others what they had done for me. Through events, communication  and negotiation with administration, and a commitment to the students we want to serve, the CSO has been able to build a community of commuter students who may not live here but can still call Agnes Scott College a home away from home. 

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