Commuter students make up roughly 80 percent of the student population at ETSU.
The number fluctuates, but Jennifer Rice, assistant director of Adult, Commuter and Transfer Services, says it stays between 78 and 80 percent.
“Commuter students are anyone not living on campus in campus housing,” Rice said. “Things even as close as University Edge are not considered campus housing. Anyone not living in an ETSU housing facility is considered a commuter.”
ACTS has found that many students who commute tend to come to campus, go to class and then immediately leave.
“They may or may not be from Johnson City, so they may or may not know what’s available in the surrounding area,” Rice said. “Even [with] the resources we have here on campus, they just don’t seem to get as engaged and involved on campus.”
The ACTS office tries to hold a few events throughout the year for these students, one being Commuter Appreciation Day.
“For the events, we put together a list of all the resources available on campus to hand out to students,” Rice said. “We have a website with community resources, which includes things that are not on campus, and they are divided out by categories, whether it be transportation, utilities, daycare and other various types of general information.”
ETSU student Bailey Bradford lived on campus for two semesters, but to save money, she moved back in with her parents.
“The advantages of living off campus were that there were no RA’s to monitor you, you have your own space — unlike in the one-room dorms — and you have more freedom in general,” Bradford said. “The disadvantages are the commute itself — parking is a bitch — and you have the potential to be less involved on campus. Normally when you live off campus, the only reason you come is for class, whereas if you live in the dorms, you may hang around and check things out.”
There are advantages and disadvantages to living off campus. According to graduate student Ali Bogar, who lives in Monarch across the road from campus, living off campus gives students more privacy and freedom and allows them to own pets and cook their own food.
Some disadvantages of commuting are forgetting something at home and the hassle of having to go all the way back to get it.
“I only use the Buc Shot if the weather is really bad,” Bogar said. “Otherwise, I walk or ride my bike to campus. I would say I use the Buc Shot about once every month. I actually do enjoy commuting because I live close enough where I can walk or bike and get a little bit of exercise in at the same time.”
The Buc Shot is sponsored by the Johnson City Transit, and the ACTS office keeps those schedules to promote it to students, especially to students who are on campus but may not have a car.
“We just want students to know these things are out there,” Rice said. “There is so much popping up all the time.”