Commuters Driven to Inclusion

Melissa Kassens, Staff Reporter

With approximately 175 Muskies commuting to campus this spring semester LaJill Edge, director of student activities and engagement, realizes the need for student connection more than ever. 

 Edge first connected with commuter students during the 2021 fall semester, beginning with meetings on Microsoft Teams once a week. Each week, students and Edge discussed concerns with LU commuters to understand what they needed and generated ideas for initiatives designed to help commuters succeed.  

In general, commuter students expressed wanting to connect more with the LU community, since all of our Muskies are working towards the same goal, putting in the work, showing up to classes, and graduating together.  

Lakeland commuters looking to connect can find the Lakeland University Commuter Club on Facebook.  

Edge said, “I did create a Facebook page for the commuters to join in hope this would open the door for the commuters to meet and get to know each other. Though we have not been able to get together in person, I hope we get too soon.” 

Commuters also expressed their desires for more parking, storage lockers for longer school days, activities during the day/late afternoon and early evening and having a space to join a class when they are on campus and have an online class.  

In response, Edge has worked hard on finding solutions to fill these needs in keeping with Lakeland’s inclusive mission. With her efforts, commuters can utilize items in the Lauer Center such as the refrigerator and microwave, and use the space as a place to relax, do homework, or attend online classes. Lockers are still in the works as well as a commuter parking pass coming in the fall. 

According to a report by Barbara Jacoby in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, “83 percent of college students nationwide who do not live in institution-owned housing are generally termed “commuters.”