It’s almost that time of the year again when Gannon University will recognize and celebrate its commuter population.
Gannon will hold its 21st annual Commuter Awareness Days on Sept. 26-27. The event will once again give commuters an opportunity to explore locations on campus that they may have never been to before and win some cool prizes while they’re at it.
At any time between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on either day, commuters can begin by picking up a card for the event at the Commuter Corner on the second floor of the Palumbo Academic Center.
Just for visiting the Commuter Corner, students will have the chance to be entered into a raffle for one of two gas cards to Country Fair or a coupon for a free slice of pizza and a small drink at Doc’s Landing. To be entered to win additional prizes, students will need to return to the Commuter Corner after having their card checked off at various locations around campus.
Heidi Noyes, director of Commuter Life, said there are four locations that commuters are specifically asked to visit: The Knight Tower, the Student Success Center, the Health and Counseling Center and Old Main.
“We wanted to make sure all of them are good resources for students, except for Old Main, which is just beautiful.”
After that, the fifth and final location commuters will need to visit in order to complete filling out their card is their choice.
Before exchanging their cards for raffle tickets, students are asked to write down one thing they learned as a result of their campus scavenger hunt.
Like in the past, several businesses around Erie have offered donations to be raffled off, such as gift cards to Allburn Florist and Get Air Erie as well as tickets to a BayHawks game or the Erie Zoo.
Noyes said that one of the main goals of Commuter Awareness Days is to help commuters feel more like a part of campus.
“Commuters don’t always feel part of campus or as connected as residents because the residents are here 24/7,” Noyes said. “So depending on the commuter’s work schedule or home life, they may not be on campus that much.”
Valerie Prindle, a commuting senior history major, is a first-generation college student and said that commuters are typically not what a lot of people expect.
“We all come from different socioeconomic classes and we all come from different levels of education within our family,” Prindle said. “A lack of funds that prohibit us from moving on campus should not mean the lack of a positive college experience.”
Noyes said their mission includes encouraging commuters to feel free to hang out with their resident friends at residence halls. Likewise, the Commuter Corner is always open to residents who need a place to study or want to meet new students. Noyes said these interactions help to strengthen the sense of community on campus.
“There’s probably been four or five [residents] I’ve met this year alone.” Noyes said. “They say ‘I just needed a place to sit,’ and I say, ‘Well, you’ve found a good place.’
“The more the merrier. We’re a fun group, I think.”
Devin Baker, a commuting senior communication arts major, has participated in Commuter Awareness Days for the past three years and said that it made the biggest impact on him during his freshman year.
“I ended up meeting a couple residents myself,” Baker said. “I have two resident friends that I met at WERG because they do [Commuter Awareness Day].
“To just know that I have someone on campus at all times that, at the very least, I could talk to is pretty good.”
Other events that the Commuter Corner has planned for the rest of the year include a Halloween decorating party, celebrating Nontraditional Students Week at the beginning of November and a holiday open house in December.
“We want [commuters] to know the campus and feel like, ‘This is where I belong,’” Noyes said.