May 23, 2024

What college student doesn’t love free food? On the first Tuesday of every month, Community Life hosts the Commuter Cafe, a commuter-only event centered around making connections, meeting other commuters and, of course, free food. 

Since commuters often travel long distances to get to class, they face struggles such as unpredictable traffic.

Commuters must also sacrifice the time spent commuting and must pay for gas. For those with longer commutes, the costs can add up. The Commuter Cafe is one way that CBU gives back to commuters, showing care in a tangible way with a provided meal or snacks. 

The event was previously called Commuter Lunch and has evolved over time to include other activities to meet commuters’ needs. 

According to Emilee Thomas, assistant director of Campus Activities, the Commuter Cafe was created to make a welcoming environment for commuters. 

“The event is for commuter students to provide a sense of belonging, purpose and home at CBU through purposeful programming,” Thomas said. “It is a time when the Community Life staff serves and connects with our commuter population.”

This is becoming increasingly important as CBU’s commuter population has grown in recent years, now making up about 50% of students, according to Community Life.

Naturally, one of the biggest attractions of the event is the free food, but also the community it  fosters.

 “My favorite thing about the Commuter Cafe is the food,” said Michelle Lake, sophomore biology major. “I believe the event is helpful for commuters since it does encourage relationships.”

Thomas said centering an event around a meal offers more than just food. 

“Food brings people together and allows them to connect with someone they may not know,” Thomas said.  

 The most recent Commuter Cafe, held on Nov. 7 in Lancer Plaza, was a special wellness-themed café featuring booths from both the Recreation Center and the Career Center, as well as some small giveaways for students.

 “It was pretty cool,” said Trinity Fike, freshman health science major. “I like that we as commuters have little events like this. My favorite thing was the little giveaways. It’s a nice break from classes, where I get to take a nice walk [to Lancer Plaza] and get a little snack. The reason I like it is because I think it shows that CBU cares about us as a whole person.”

The Commuter Cafe provides a space for students to sit back, relax and enjoy some food while chatting with friends before moving on with the rest of the day.

“The Commuter Cafe was fun,” said Katie Beckum, sophomore biomedical sciences major. “It was nice to hang out with friends and grab some food. I think it encourages friends to get together and it seemed relaxing.”

Thomas encouraged commuters who haven’t been to one of the cafes to stop by.

“If you haven’t been, swing by,” Thomas said. “The staff wants to meet commuter students and make them feel welcomed daily.” 

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