LAUREN OOLEY | STAFF REPORTER
For most students, Butler is their home away from home. They live, eat, and sleep here. However, for a small portion of students at the university, Butler is not where they live or sleep.
This small group of students is Butler’s commuters. Commuter students experience college life differently than students that live on campus. Sometimes it seems easier to live at home, such as having never-ending access to Mom’s home cooked meals. Other times it seems harder, such as trying to memorize traffic patterns so that you aren’t late for class.
Regardless, the Off Campus Student Organization is there for all commuters to participate in. It helps commuters get involved on campus, as well as meet and befriend other commuters.
Hira Khan, president of the Off Campus Student Organization, estimates that there are between 200 and 250 commuters total, but only 50 to 65 active members in the organization.
Khan commutes so that she can stay close with her family and save money.
“I never really considered living on campus,” she said. “Home is home.”
But she admits it can be hard to fit in on campus.
“As a freshman it is the hardest to meet new people, make friends, and find the balance between school and home,” Khan said.
Khan said the Off Campus Student Organization is a great place “to get to know people with a common interest and provides an opportunity to get involved on campus.”
Monica McKary, vice-president of the Off Campus Student Organization, has been a commuter since her freshman year because she is so close to her family and Carmel community.
“It’s really hard making friends as a commuter,” she said. “Off Campus Student Organization is made for that. It’s easy for commuters to bond over commuting. It’s brought so many people closer together.”
“People feel bad for commuters for not getting that college experience, but you get out of college what you put into it. Living at home does not mean that you do not get a good college experience. We’re like a fraternity or sorority. They have their houses and we have our cars.”
Anthony Murdock, a sophomore active member of the Off Campus Student Organization, also felt the social challenge of being a commuter student.
“It’s harder to make friends,” he said. “You have to put forth an effort to get to know people.”
Murdock was clearly successful in making friends, as he said hello to five different people during our short time together.
Like McKary, Murdock agreed that commuting has not detracted from his college experience.
“Commuting helped me to branch out and develop as a person,” he said. “A lot of the things I learned from commuting translate well to the classroom, like time management.”
The Off Campus Student Organization has been “essential” in Murdock finding his niche on campus.
“Everyone has a different niche,” he said. “The organization helps you find where you fit in.”
The organization has two lunches or dinners each year where the commuters get together. The first of these meetings will be early in October. The second will be mid-November.
All commuters will receive emails about these lunches, as well as other news and events, from the Off Campus Student Organization. To become an active member of the organization, you only need to show up.
“With Butler’s culture, it is important for commuters to feel welcome,” Khan said.