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Commuters are the forgotten minority

October 24, 2010

Staff Opinion

Since Young Harris College became a four-year institution many transitions have been initiated to make the students’ college experience a better one. Unfortunately, for a particular group of students, these transitions do not apply. Commuters at YHC are struggling with various problems that have become increasingly evident over the course of this semester.

Perhaps the most prominent issue is the less than satisfying meal plans that YHC offers its commuters. For residents, meals are paid through tuition. That means that once a resident’s tuition is paid, he can eat in the cafeteria as many times as he wants without being charged additionally. Commuters have two options. They can pay for 15 or 30 meals at a time. This is inconvenient for various reasons. First, many commuters are at the college all day and well into the evening. This means that it is highly possible for a commuter to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on campus. Unfortunately, if a commuter attempted to do this with his current meal plan of 30 meals, he would have to purchase a new plan in one and a half weeks.

If a resident wants a beverage or a snack, all he has to do is go to the cafeteria and get one. A commuter would have to spend an entire meal in order to do this. At the beginning of the year, commuters were told by management that they were working on way to give commuters the option of getting a drink or snack without wasting a meal; but it is over halfway through the semester and just recently have these cups been available. Additionally, a commuter cannot go to late night unless he is willing to spend a meal off his or her plan.

Not being able to go to late night or eat more main meals encourages disunity among the student body. Another cause of disunity among the student body is from the college’s no apartment policy. One reason YHC has commuters is because it is expensive to live on campus. If a student were able to rent an apartment close to campus, he would be saving money, while maintaining unity within the student body. Many commuters find it difficult to become involved in a sorority or fraternity due to many late nights and long drives home. Plus, it is never a good feeling having to leave all your friends behind. Ask any sorority or fraternity on campus how many commuters they have and the answer will be close to none. This problem could be improved if students were permitted to live in apartments closer to YHC.

Another problem commuters have encountered is due to the college’s inconsistent use of the program “Moodle.” Many professors at YHC post notes, announcements and lessons that can only be accessed from a folder on one of the library’s computers. Moodle enables teachers to distribute that information to all of the students on the convenience of their own computers.

At this time, only some teachers use Moodle, while others upload notes to the library’s computers. This becomes very inconvenient for commuters who have to drive all the way to the campus just to view notes that are readily available to residents. Moodle is a great program, but it will only become beneficial when YHC generates a policy that regulates the program. Many changes still need to be addressed in order for YHC to step into the shoes of a 4-year college. And, changing the commuter policy should be near the top of that list.

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