After a promising meeting with Dean Rodgers and the collection of student signatures last week, the Commuter Life Committee’s (CLC) initiative for more commuter participation in Integrated Learning Communities on campus has been formally supported by the Student Life Council (SLC). The campaign focused specifically on the Jogues Science Integrated Learning Community (SILC). CLC, in cooperation with the Commuting Student Association (CSA), began to collect information regarding student interest in the program last Wednesday, Feb. 18 through a petition. In addition, SLC voted to support the initiative that day. The petition had 240 signatures as of Sunday — “which isn’t bad for two days of work,” said Alex Frank, FCRH ’16, executive vice president of CSA.
The petition comes in response to widespread discontent among commuters, who have reported difficulty in attempting to participate in ILC activities. The only ILC that currently allows commuter integration is the Manresa Program, based in Loyola Hall. In Manresa, commuters can utilize and participate in the the ILC’s resources, such as tutoring and programs, but commuter-specific problems — including attending tutoring and events after hours — have yet to be addressed. In addition, although the Manresa program is all encompassing, many commuters wish that they were able to be a part of something more. “We felt that the ILC request was necessary,” Frank added, “because commuters did not previously have access to such a strong program and community in the hard sciences, like SILC.”
Initially, CLC brainstormed ideas to allow commuters to fully experience the ILC at
Fordham. “At first, we thought about starting an all-commuter ILC,” said Frank. “However, the goal of CSA is not only to support commuters, but integrate them among the on campus residents — which an ILC just for commuters wouldn’t do.” As a result, the committee found it more feasible to expand on the already existing program, SILC. “A few of our members who used to be on the pre-med pre-health track,” Frank added, “wished they had the opportunity themselves [to be a part of SILC] because they felt it would have helped their understanding and success in the sciences overall.
Last week, members of the group met with Rodgers to present their written proposal, which proposal consisted of three main requests. The first was that a preliminary group of commuting students will be allowed to participate in SILC in the Fall 2015 semester. No commuter quota would be implemented, but an acceptance rate of 15-20 students was suggested. Secondly, the same academic standards and programming fees will be applied to commuting students as their resident counterparts. Lastly, additional tutoring be offered at more commuter-friendly hours, such as from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. SLC also suggested that Fordham consider commuting students for on-campus employment as tutors in order to accommodate these extra tutoring hours.
CLC believes that these requests are not impractical, especially when considering that Jogues building itself is already commuter-friendly. The building has a door that grants accessing to the SILC classroom but not the living quarters of the building.
Frank and Joseph Guarnaccia, FCRH ’16, the CLC co-chairs, and CSA Executive President Jessica Giglio will be meeting March 4 to discuss their proposal further at the next CLC meeting. They also hope to hear back from Rodgers regarding the proposal soon.