by Salma Youssef
Do you take the subway, train or bus to campus? Do you drive? Do you walk over from your apartment? If your answer is yes, that means you are a commuter like me. Fordham has always been a commuter school and continues to have a high percentage of commuters to this day.
However, a lot of commuters feel underrepresented and left out of campus life. We all want to enjoy our college experience, but in a way that fits our schedule and lifestyle.
My path to finding that balance was through joining the Commuting Students Association (CSA), which is one of the Big Four student organizations on campus. CSA represents the needs of commuters through working on commuter-friendly programs and policy initiatives that improve campus life.
Becoming a part of CSA made me realize that commuters face similar issues and have common needs. This was my way to get involved and make a difference.
I plan several events to help engage commuters and develop their sense of belonging at Fordham. My favorite events are our annual fundraiser, Thanks-Give-Away, where all proceeds benefit the local community through Part of the Solution (POTS), and Commuter Week, which is a week of events that celebrate commuters. I look forward to these events every year, and I now have a very colorful collection of CSA event T-shirts (which we always give out for free).
The other main focus of CSA is policy which falls under the Commuter Life Committee (CLC). The committee is open to all students and works on initiatives that cater to commuter needs. As the executive vice president and head of the committee, I work with university administrators and other clubs on campus to improve the Fordham experience for commuters.
Through CLC, we increased the number of lockers available to commuters in McGinley, and worked with the Office for Student Involvement to improve the McGinley Student Lounge. We also have been working on initiatives to improve parking conditions, provide informational pamphlets to new commuters at orientation, post flyers about microwave access and provide access to feminine-care products on campus.
As representatives, we are proud that the commuting student population represents an ethnically diverse group from all over the tri-state area with a unifying experience that brings them together. In addition, many of these students are residents of the Bronx, who add a valuable perspective on the cooperation between Fordham and the local community.
As an advocate for commuter needs, I work for a more inclusive campus so that every student feels comfortable. I am joined by a group of students who share this view and work tirelessly on these programs and initiatives. The more power commuters are given, the stronger their voices become within the majority. To align my voice with an underrepresented population on campus is to send the message that commuters matter.
I am calling on all commuters to get involved and share their voice. If you love organizing fun events, want to work on policy or just want to make new friends, then you should join CSA. We hold elections every year and represent freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. We have varying roles from marketing to programming to treasury.
We welcome all students to run for elections and stay connected with us on our socials.
Join our team and advocate for commuters.
Salma Youssef, FCRH ’20, is a biology major from Alexandria, Egypt.