The new commuter lounge opened on Sept. 6. Collegian file photo.
EMMA CHAMLEY | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
The commuter student center in Atherton Union isn’t the only new commuter space coming to campus this year. A new space on Butler’s South Campus, which houses the College of Education, opened for commuter students Sept. 6.
Angela Mager, assistant dean in the college of education, said a previously under-utilized storage room in the COE library has been completely renovated into a cozy space for both undergraduate and graduate commuter students. The space “soft-launched” with an email to education commuter students Sept. 6 but will officially open later in September.
Students can now utilize a sink, refrigerator, cabinets and lockers in the space. New furniture and charging stations will be delivered after Sept. 23, and Mager said they are still waiting to allow student ID key card access for education commuter students only before the official opening later this month.
Last year, Butler’s College of Education saw an increase in commuter students, which Mager said called for an accessible space in an area close to education classes on South Campus.
“We just wanted to be as inclusive as we could with all of our students and make them feel like everybody has a place on campus during the day,” Mager said.
Sophomore elementary education major Jasmine Slough commutes from Fishers, IN, about 25 minutes away. Slough said she met with Andrew Stutz, assistant dean of students and student affairs liaison for commuter students, earlier this semester and discussed changes that could be made to better accommodate commuter students.
She said one of the ideas he brought up was a commuter lounge on South Campus, specifically for education students. It was important to Slough that a new lounge have things like soft seating and refrigerators, which the new lounge will include. She said having a dedicated commuter space would make her feel more comfortable on campus.
“It makes me feel like I don’t have to sit in my car and do homework or always go to South Campus and sit there by myself … ” Slough said. “A lot of people can go back to their dorms or rooms, and we can’t, so just having a space for that is very nice.”
First-year elementary education major Olivia Chamberlain initially learned about the commuter lounge during first-year orientation. She also commutes from her home in Fishers and enjoys most aspects of commuting so far.
Chamberlain said she rarely feels disconnected from residential students on campus and enjoys the alone time she has commuting. She said she plans to use the commuter lounge often, when it fully opens, as a place to study by herself, although she has mixed feelings about the lounge’s location.
“It’s nice to have somewhere to put your stuff,” Chamberlain said. “But it is kind of closed off from everybody else, which, I mean, is also nice when you need space to study where nobody else would be.”
Slough said having a dedicated lounge for education commuters will help build community between commuters, residential students and faculty on South Campus.
“It does just give us a way to meet other commuters who are also in the same major as us,” Slough said. “It feels like a more welcoming community. I love the education area, and I feel like they’re already very welcoming, so adding in commuter life and showing professors there are commuters here [is important]. Having a space in South Campus and wanting to stay there, where it’s comfortable for me, is very beneficial.”