Head downstairs in the BCC and you will see the familiar offices of The Mirror, The Manor, WVOF, Graduate Studies and the commuter lounge.

Wait, where did the commuter lounge go?

Changes were made around the BCC ground floor this year. The Center for Multicultural Relations moved into the former FUSA office, which was subsequently moved into the corner that the commuter lounge previously occupied.

The last relic, the commuter lounge couch, still remains, although the space is now FUSA President Hutch Williams’s office.

“The lounge was used for commuters to relax, watch TV, play video games, hold meetings, dine, study, etc.,” said Andrea Pepe ’08, president of the Commuters Club. “It was highly comparable to a dorm.”

Although it seems the commuters have been handed the short end of the stick, Matt Dinnan, associate dean of students, said the original design of the BCC was to be an open space for all students to share. The hope is that students, including the Commuter Club, will identify their own pocket of the BCC to gather at, without having designated spaces, said Dinnan. This will help to promote a more community-oriented feeling.

The Commuter Club, however, is not satisfied with the new arrangement.

“The commuters are quite upset regarding the loss of the lounge,” said Pepe. “We feel almost as if we are being pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Everyone else on campus has a designated spot to go to when they need downtime to hang out or study.”

The club is looking into using the area near the big-screen TV as a place to gather, said Pepe.

This idea would work well with Dinnan’s plans. He said that next semester, cabinets will be put around the TV in which commuters, or anyone, can lock up their videogames or collectively put their belongings. As of right now, the commuters have 24 lockers they use to store belongings.

“Our hope is that their physical needs and concerns are identified and met,” said Dinnan.

The administration is hoping that the club will define its own area where commuters will gather without having to assign a specific, closed off space.

In addition, Dinnan mentioned plans to improve the game room above Jazzman’s on the BCC second floor next semester. A newer large-screen TV with cable may be installed with an additional TV designated just for gaming.

Dinnan and his colleagues are also working to create a living room environment in the game room to promote a community atmosphere. This would make the BCC a true “student center,” said Dinnan, and more appealing for all students.

Students could then “create their own nooks and crannies,” he added.

Dinnan has been working with commuters to address their physical needs on campus, as well, through meetings with the administrators of the Commuter Club. Pepe, however, feels the loss of the designated space will make it harder for commuters to foster unity.

“The loss of our lounge has affected our club because it has put a strain on the actively involved members of the club,” said Pepe.

It has put a damper on the club’s “efforts to get other commuters involved,” she added. “Without a space of our own, what community can we actually pull others into?”

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