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Commuter Students at the University at Albany were welcomed into the community as part of Commuter Appreciation week.

The week-long series of events, held by the UAlbany Driving Force, was meant to help create a sense of community between the commuting students and residents of the UAlbany campus. This was the first time the group has hosted a Commuter Appreciation week, and hopes are high for it to become a regular campus event.

The event kicked off on Monday, with free breakfast being offered in the Transfer and Commuter lounge. The lounge, located on the first floor of the campus center, is home to lockers students can rent, vending machines, comfortable chairs, and a study area, all of which are meant to be used by non-campus residential students.

“The lounge also serves as a social hub for transfer, commuter, and non-traditional students to meet, plan activities, and study,” according to the UAlbany website.

The free breakfast event was staffed by Ally McAuliffe, the creator of the Driving Force’s Facebook group. Once a student swiped into the event, they were offered free coffee, bagels, and other baked goods, as well as some fruit and flyers advertising the other events the Driving Force had planned for the week.

“Commuter students can feel distanced from events. We want to draw them in and make them feel part of the community,” McAuliffe said.

The UAlbany Driving Force was created to enhance the experience that commuting students have at UAlbany.

“Our goal is to help commuter students feel more involved on campus as well as if there’s something they feel they don’t get as a student; we will try to get that for them,” Reid Kisselback, a member of the Driving Force, said.  

These “things” can range from helping students access commuter amenities, such as locker rentals in the campus center, commuter meal plans, or with accessing other part of the UAlbany campus and community.

On Wednesday, the group led two tours of the tunnels for commuter students, who are less likely to be familiar with the campus’s tunnel system than resident students would be.

Jung Maeng, another member, lead the tours after students met up in the commuter lounge, showing them various places they asked about as well as a general tour of the tunnel system.

The last event the Driving Force had during Commuter appreciation week was the Safe Driving Pledge in front of the campus center on Friday. Students were asked to sign a pledge stating that they would follow all road laws and be responsible drivers. The pledge will hang in the commuter lounge.

“As the commuter population here at UAlbany is a decent chunk of the student population, we figured, why not make a pledge for our commuters to look at when they sit in the lounge and see that a lot of us are actually pledging to be safe drivers?” Kisselback said.

The pledge was also accompanied by a raffle students could enter to win a $20 gift card for gas.

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