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Campus Life

New initiatives focused on engaging commuters beyond classes

Commuter students leave campus as soon as their classes are over. That’s the trend Lipscomb is trying to fight against.

The Commuter Students Services is increasing efforts to integrate off-campus students as part of the full college experience, creating committees, positions, and events.

Lipscomb established the first-ever Commuter Opportunities Resources and Experiences council last fall. The C.O.R.E wants to represent commuter students and give them a voice. Its objective is to be a channel to express concerns to the administration and increase involvement in campus life.

Heleena Kabtimer, the first Coordinator of Commuter Student Services and 2022 alumna, came back to Lipscomb to serve as part of the Office of Student Engagement.

Her main goal is “to create community and enhance the resources and experiences for commuter students,” said Kabtimer. A challenge for her is to get to meet them all, because “it is now getting to where it’s almost half of the student population.”

According to the Office of Strategic Planning, there are approximately 1,400 commuter students at Lipscomb, and that number has been consistent over the years. However, over the past five years, the number of commuter students entering the freshman class has almost doubled. In the fall of 2018, 118 freshman were commuter students, while the fall of 2023 class had 210 commuter students, according to the OSP.

Shadai Hernandez, a junior marketing major from Nashville, wants to make the experience easier for commuters. She’s one of the seven members of the 2023-2024 C.O.R.E. council. She thinks resources such as free food, academic and financial advice would empower commuter students.

Her motivation to apply for the council came from some professors not understanding her struggles as a commuter. According to Hernandez, her main challenges are parking and engagement.

“There is parking on campus, as much as it may not be as convenient, there is parking,” said Kabtimer. “I think the biggest issue has been a lack of emails or notice when things are blocked off.”

“I drive into campus every day. I need those emails just as much as y’all do,” said Kabtimer. She said that although it’s harder than students would think, she’s doing her best to give them notice of different events that would require extra time to find a spot.

Hernandez also mentioned engagement as part of commuter’s challenges. Heleena Kabtimer thinks that one of the solutions to boost involvement is in the student’s hands.

 “I feel like if they (students) were a little bit more proactive with checking their emails, they would see what different events are happening and that could adhere to their schedule,” said Kabtimer.

The Commuter Student Services is committed to organizing events that will help students come together as a community.