"Commuter students attend virtually every institution of higher education and may represent a small percentage of students at a private residential liberal arts college or the entire population of a community college or urban institution" (p. 62..)
I was a commuter student my senior year of college. I didn't realize it until much later because of the strong ties I had on campus. The first semester I house sat for a professor, who lived just outside of campus. The second semester I lived at home. Without a meal plan and access to the dining hall which was the center for informal gatherings, I was cut off from nourishing and meaningful conversations and moments with friends. In hindsight, I can now attribute those feelings to the lack of support and programming for commuter students. I didn't count unless I was on campus.
This ties into the various conversations I had with friends who felt marginalized because of their mental or physical disabilities. Swarthmore did not support that constituency very well. And some of those students ended up sleeping on my dorm floor. As long as I fit the full-time, on campus living, non-disability having student, I was fine.
As several Swarthmore related events are approaching, I will make sure to voice some of my concerns to the administrators who are there. I recently sat on a committee with the president about enhancing student experiences, a commuter and part-time student support was never brought up. This must change.