By Evan Lewis, February 13 2020 —
A survey performed in early January demonstrated that students at the University of Calgary are dissatisfied with the commute required in order to attend the university.
(They tried to stop me in the halls on my way home to take this survey. For the love of God, it is 4:45 p.m. Class is over. You can’t keep me here, not even under threat of death. I will choose death, every time.)
A discussion around considering the university as a “commuter campus” has cropped up in recent months, as many students are forced to drive or take public transit from places of residence elsewhere in the city to reach their classes every day. The survey was conducted by a group of volunteers on behalf of the U of C itself, and interviewed students on campus and online, with posters on notice boards around campus asking students to submit their thoughts.
This question has existed around the U of C for a while, and has only grown as its home city has expanded its edges further and further. However, the university has always encouraged students to take part in campus living, and has promoted living in residence as the optimal student experience.
(So, my classes end at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, and I’m supposed to be meeting some people later on to talk about a group presentation. You can bet I won’t be sticking around until seven when Gina finishes her classes and you can bet I’m going to tell them I’m sick and go home instead. Sue me.)
Students that take advantage of living in parents’ homes, or the homes of family members, miss out on the deep and engaged social experiences that living on, or near campus can bring.
“You lose a sense of community in the process,” wrote one student who was surveyed, who has lived on residence for three years of her degree.
(I’m sorry, but I can’t exactly afford the “sense of community” that comes with living on campus. I have my room and board covered at home, I’m working two jobs, and I’m still somehow in debt as my tuition steadily climbs. But I’m happy for you girl! It’s really nice that your parents who live a 10-minute drive from the university are paying for you to live on residence.)
While many students attend large, university-adjacent events like the Crowchild Classic, many of these same students will never attend smaller events, or join student groups and clubs on-campus.
(It takes me an hour and a half to get home on transit, and it gets dark real early. I’m not sticking around to make some futile attempt at “de-stressing” with a group of people I’ll see maybe once a month when homework, labs or my jobs don’t overlap with club plans.)
This survey revealed frustration among students who choose to travel on a daily basis to the university — “It’s kind of tiring, I guess. It’s okay though,” said one student in his fourth year of the university’s psychology program.
(And what he didn’t say is that treating this place like a “commuter campus” is my best option if I don’t want to be crippled by student loans forever. This city is a spider web, and this university is the spider that’s slowly devouring me. I am bound by the silk of a city that sprawls out, absorbing everything in its path, filling these foothills with unending suburban wastelands that gouge away at the soul of this place and the souls of the people living here.)
(At least I can sleep on the train.)
This article is part of our humour section.