With commuter students a significant part of NIU’s population, issues pertaining to commuting should be among the university’s top priorities.
Commuter students often have problems parking with the limited amount of parking lots on campus. Commuters — especially the ones that leave right after their classes end — might feel uninvolved on campus.
There are too many students who live on campus and abuse parking passes that should be reserved for commuter students.
The university needs to reconstruct the parking permit procedure or create more parking lots for commuter students. The demolition of Douglas Hall would provide a perfect opportunity to create another parking lot devoted to commuter students.
NIU President Doug Baker hopes to expand the Huskie Bus system and add electric buses that would de-emphasize using the use of cars to create a pedestrian-friendly campus. But before the university starts spending money on commodities and services that will benefit on-campus students, NIU should focus on helping commuter students feel welcome here.
Proposed buses and trolleys would benefit commuter students, as NIU can shuttle commuters from parking lots to their class buildings if nearby parking is full.
NIU is taking a step in the right direction by adding these trolleys to benefit commuter students, but needs to re-examine its repurposing of Douglas Hall’s spot.
Commuter students have limited chances to get to know their campus.
Because so many campus events are in the evening after classes end, commuter students who leave right after class don’t get a chance to attend. If there were places for commuters to interact with fellow students during the day, they would get a chance to be more involved with the campus.
There should be overnight rooms commuter students can pay for if they stay late at the library studying or participating in evening events. Students who want to stay overnight could stay in any of the unoccupied residence hall rooms. This would remove the hassle of having to drive home late at night and would make it easier for commuters to get involved.
There should be surveys on Blackboard for commuter students to voice their concerns or opinions on the campus. This would give the university an idea of what commuter students are looking for and how to satisfy their needs as well as the needs of the rest of the students.
Instead of fixing the appearance of the campus, the university should focus on its on- and off-campus students. By trying to better student life, NIU will be on its way to becoming a better and more well-rounded university.