Empowering commuter students to embrace their own agency and be effective advocates for their own needs takes intentional effort. We asked Cathy R. Briggs, Ed.D, Dean of Student Success and Lauren Kuski, Associate Director, Programming & Administrative Operations for the Chamberlain Student Center & Campus Activities at Rowan College at Burlington County (NJ), their thoughts on how campus administrators can best empower commuter students to do just that.

“In order for our commuter students to be the most effective advocates for their own needs, we need to make sure that they feel comfortable and part of the institution community,” they said. “They need to feel welcomed, safe, and supported in expressing their feelings and advocating for change.”

“There are many ways to support our students and effectively empower them to advocate for their own needs,” they continued. “We can do this by making sure our students have access to basic support systems, such as financial aid, food, paid employment opportunities, etc. Then, we’d like to make sure they are connected to a community, whether that’s a student organization, an on-campus department or office, or a supportive mentor that can provide connection to the larger community. Finally, we need to provide our students opportunities to engage in opportunities to advocate for their own needs – this could be hosting open forums or listening tours, funding students to host their own program, facilitating focus groups to evaluate services provided, or creating support for starting a student club or organization.”

To learn more from Lauren and Cathy, join us for the On-Demand Training Commuter Students: Create Connection Points That Overcome Barriers for Engagement.