Student Voice


May 20, 2024


Light Drizzle

Student Life attempts to address commuter concerns

March 25, 2015

Student Life at UW-River Falls has been trying to appeal to commuter students to stay on campus for events with some success.

Approximately 40 percent of all students attending UWRF live in a residence hall. This means the other 60 percent of the student body lives off campus.

The definition of a commuter student is very loose and is open to interpretation. In general, it can mean someone who lives off campus, or it could mean someone who commutes from home (where home is still with their parents), or it could mean that they live far off campus. There is not one definition of a commuter student.

However, given the data, it's safe to assume that a reasonable amount of students at UWRF are commuter students, and this has a huge impact on Student Life.

“I would come to campus for class and then leave right away when I was done to go home,” said Allyssa Jeska, a commuter student from New Richmond, Wisconsin. “I felt like there wasn’t anything to do on campus other than homework and I could just do that at home”.

This is a complaint that many students on campus share, and Student Life has thought about these compliant.

“We have to think around that old standard of students being around during evening hours,” said Director of Student Life Paul Shepherd. “This really pushes us to think creatively about what we are producing and where that happens.”

Student Life is the department of the university that focuses on getting students involved in campus activities, whether it be going to concerts or attending job fairs.

There have been recent advancements from Student Life in an attempt to appeal to students off campus. One big idea is to record events and post them online for all to see. In this way students can view lectures and talks without having to go out of their way to see it.

Another new idea this year is the Falcon 5 program. This program encourages and rewards students for going to various on campus events. Students swipe their card at events and those events get tallied online. After students complete various levels of the program they will earn a reward, which can range from a sweatshirt to a certificate by the Chancellor.

This program also encourages service work and rewards commuter students for volunteering in the River Falls community.

“It’s not that we are trying to get students involved in things we’re doing for Student Life, we are just trying to get students to think about things that they could do in the community that would help contribute to their experience,” Shepherd said.

More recently is that UWRF has been nominated to receive a national award from Orgsync. For the past two years, Orgsync has held a conference honoring the schools who use their program and have used them well.

This year UWRF has been nominated for "Campus of the Year" from Orgsync, due to their changes and integration with student organizations and the Falcon 5 program. Student Life will hear back about this award later this year.

The Student Voice will be running 12 commuting stories over the next several weeks in an effort to discover how commuting affects the campus and the community.