Is UCI A Commuter Campus?
When I came to UCI, I had some pretty big preconceptions about the campus. One of them was that almost everyone lived on campus. But then I started meeting people all over the place in classes or social events who said they were commuters. I would always jokingly say that they sound like they are going to a job whenever they talk about commuting because before college that was the only context I had for commuting.
A commuter campus is a college or university that has equal or more students that attend full time and call their place of residence somewhere that is not affiliated with the campus. These commuter campuses are maintained by creating a space where students can commute to their classes with relative ease. UCI doesn’t quite fit that definition, as less than 40% of undergraduates live off campus, although the experiences of students who commute and students who live on campus are relatively the same.
For those students who are interested in commuting, UCI has taken pride in making the campus far more commuter friendly over the last several years, with more parking spaces as well as commuter prices for parking. Even some of our incoming first years choose to commute. With roughly 20% of our freshmen students commuting (yes, freshmen are allowed to bring their cars), commuters range in every year of college from freshman to seniors as residency options open to students.
Many incoming students question whether or not commuters struggle with getting involved on campus or even just making friends, mainly since they aren’t participating in the dorming system. Once you start going here you’ll soon realize that many students who commute find that the best ways to get involved and be active in the community here at UCI is to simply try out activities that fall in their free time on campus in between classes. Jordan Nguyen a junior here at UCI has been commuting since his first year from Anaheim. He experienced being a part of the life here really just required him finding time to actively pursue any kind of involvements that seemed interesting to him. This required a little bit of extra research on his part as he wasn’t hearing about clubs and fraternities through hallmates, but rather through seeing the booths on Ring Road, flyers posted in classrooms, and the many social media posts on Facebook and Instagram about activities on campus. For many commuters like Jordan, being involved with the community atmosphere all starts with being informed about what opportunities there are, and that’s pretty much the only thing that requires a little bit of extra work. With that little bit of research, he was able to join Greek life and volunteer with Camp Kesem, making him just as - or even more - involved as students who live on campus.
So for commuters, it is relatively easy to still be involved with campus activities. You really just have to put in the extra effort to pursue your interests and find time in your schedule for them as you commute.