On a typical day, junior business administration major Justin Juliano wakes up at 7:45 a.m. and hops into the shower. Once he’s out and dressed, he makes his bed and heads downstairs for breakfast. He then leaves his house around 9:10 a.m. and gets to school around 9:25 a.m. After searching a bit for a parking spot, he makes his way into Founders Hall and chats with friends until class at 9:40 a.m.
To some, repeating this process five days a week may be a hassle, but Juliano said, “I think commuting helps in the long run.” He added, “Despite driving in snow, I’m glad I chose to commute.”
Commuters on Cabrini’s campus make up 40 percent of the undergraduate student body (Approx. 520 of 1,300) and most are less inclined to get involved in campus organizations or even attend campus events when they first begin as a student. Amber LaJeunesse, assistant director of Student Engagement and Leadership said, “This [not involved/attending events] often makes commuters feel like they’re not connected to the campus community.”
But being a commuter doesn’t mean you can’t be involved. Students like Justin don’t go to class and head right home. Most commuters remain on campus after class for some sort of involvement or commitment.
LaJeunesse said, “I think commuting can be very beneficial as long as the students do what it takes to be a part of the larger community.”
For Juliano, becoming a part of the larger community hasn’t been hard. He said, “I thought it would be a challenge to get involved and be active on campus, but it actually wasn’t.”
Juliano’s involvement on campus ranges far and wide. Currently, he serves as the executive board’s treasurer for the Student Government Association, is president of the math club, works as a student ambassador and is planning to serve on the alumni board as a student representative. And on top of all of that, he runs his own business online as well as in-shop down in Ocean City, N.J.
Cabrini alumna Michelle Goff considers herself a “major homebody” but said, “Because of my involvement on campus it was truly like I wasn’t a commuter at all. I was always here, always working on something whether it was homework, classes or an event.”
Over her four years, Goff was an orientation leader, master learner, was co-editor for the Woodcrest Magazine and helped start Cabrini’s poetry club, Writers Gone Wild.
Coming from an alumna’s perspective, Goff’s advises students to “Follow through with your plans.” She added, “Don’t let others make you feel like you don’t understand because you don’t live with them. Go to the events, eat the free food and when you doubt what you are doing, just ask yourself this one simple question: ‘Am I proud of what I have accomplished, or can I do more?'”
LaJeunesse has two words for commuters who want to get involved, “Do it!” She continued, “The worst thing a commuter can do is solely go to class and go home without engaging in the community at all or even taking advantage of the resources available. There are many resources offered by the campus as well as social engagement opportunities that are free or inexpensive. You want to graduate with a degree from Cabrini College, not just a piece of paper. ”
Juliano’s advice is to “Make it a point to arrive early and stay late on campus. See what your friends are involved in and find students that share your interests. By doing that it makes it much more easier to be involved on campus.”
When it comes to commuting in general he added, “Always make the most out of your college experience. Once you find your passion, run with it and make the most out of it.”
Whether you’re looking for your passion or just an activity to meet new people, commuters and residents can see all the clubs and activities offered at Cabrini during the annual Involvement Fair. The Involvement Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 4-7 p.m. in Grace Hall. Cavs Corner will be closed for dinner, so stop by for a bite to eat and consider getting involved while there.