Breakfast on the Go brings people together
Walking through the quad, it is hard to tell which students reside on campus from those that commute each day. Backpacks of all different shapes, colors, styles and sizes fill the halls as students rush to get to their 11:30 classes. While during the day there is no distinct way to tell commuters and residents apart, early in the morning and late at night there are rarely commuters in sight.
According to Collegedata.com, out of the 2,213 current undergrads at Canisius, only 40% currently live in college housing. This leaves a population of 60% of the student body commuting each day. This is where the Commuter Student Association (CSA) comes in.
CSA is a student-run club that puts on events, targeted at the commuter students at Canisius to help make their college experience enjoyable, engaging and fun.The events are also open to students who live in the dorms.
Breakfast on the Go (BOTG) is one of the largest recurring events that CSA puts on. During this event, there is a large menu of grab-and-go food items such as bagels, muffins, coffee, juice and fruit for students to take with them or sit down and enjoy in the commuter lounge, which is located in the basement of the Student Center next to the bookstore. Kyra Laurie is the secretary of CSA and said that this event usually brings together 60-100 students each time.
This event is open to all students, and Laurie has noticed that it is an excellent way to bridge the resident-commuter gap. “Not only is Breakfast on the Go an opportunity for commuters to meet other commuters, but it is also a chance for commuters to connect with residents,” Laurie said. “There is a group of commuting freshmen that always hang out in the commuter lounge. Just this past week, at Breakfast on the Go, I saw this group of commuters catching up with some of the residents from Frisch.”
Commuters like sophomore Sean O'Brien use this event as a chance to make meaningful relationships with other students, as well as to just relax and have something to eat in between classes. “This event is very laid-back and is a great opportunity to start a conversation with other students,” O’Brien said.
With close to a 50/50 resident-commuter split at Canisius, it can be hard for students — especially freshmen — to step out of their comfort zones and meet new people. This is especially important since commuters go home at the end of the day.
Freshman resident Kathrine Ledermann has noticed the absence of commuters on campus after school hours. She herself has multiple good friends who are commuters; however, she thinks that commuters may feel like “outcasts” at some on-campus events.
Ledermann said, “I've found that at most of the events on campus it's mostly residents that attend, since most of the commuters leave to go home right after their classes.” She thinks that if there are longer events for commuters, they may stay on campus instead of driving home.
Busy schedules and the home/school divide are what freshman resident Ali Kennedy says is keeping her from having many commuter friends. She and her friends, also residents, have noticed that there are not many commuters at events in general. “At first there was a lot of interaction between the two, but now we could go days without seeing our commuter friends,” Kennedy said. “From someone who lives here, it is different because we are here 24/7 and mostly on campus all of the time, so it is like our home. Also, being in the dorms we are always around people and hanging out with friends who live near us.”
It is this divide that CSA is trying to tackle: to make sure that CSA doesn’t feel like another exclusive group or clique-y in any way. The BOTG event is just one of many events that CSA put on, centered around bringing students — commuters and residents alike — together. “I feel that, as a commuter who was online her freshman year, it was incredibly hard to get involved and get on campus. This event encourages commuters, and residents, to come on campus and discover a new community, relaxing environment and location on campus,” Laurie said. “I believe that the commuters lounge is a ‘judgment-free zone’ as I have heard nothing but supportive and encouraging conversation as well as met the nicest people in the world.”