By Tifani-Rae Jazmin Steward, Staff Writer

    UMF’s Commuter Council is working on improving the college experience to and from the campus for off-campus students.

    Grace Kendall president of commuter council said, that the goals for Commuter Council this year are to make themselves known and to obtain a larger space on campus.  She said, “We are open to all students” even “live in residents that care about commuter problems.” She explained that “about fifty not active people [commuters] are using resources we are providing” as of now.

   Kendall said that “parking is always an issue that people complain about most {and} class cancellation for bad weather,” but she believes that the school is getting better at canceling classes when the roads are bad and not just when the conditions are impassible. There is a text alert, she said that students can receive if school is canceled.
The Commuter Council has a program for commuters in times of bad road conditions where off-campus students “can stay in a dorm room on campus” known as the hostile. The Commuter Council also offers toiletries for overnight stays, but there is nothing in which the group can do about parking; however, they have been able to inform participants of the group when the parking lots will be most busy.
To attempt more convenience for off-campus students the Commuter Council offers other things for commuters such as a meeting space, a study space, and lockers if students need them. Among other conveniences the council offers items like coffee, a refrigerator, and on the go snacks that are not always made available for commuters as they are for live-in residents.
Grace Temple, a long distance commuter from Rangeley, said recently in an email interview some problems that she constantly faces. Commuting appears to negatively influence Temple’s ability to study for class. She said, “I cannot go to SI sessions. The extra trip down is not worth the gas money. It would be nice to be closer to get extra help and what not.”
“In the winter commuting is a whole other situation cleaning off snow on the car, warming the car, leaving an extra 30 minutes or so to account for icy roads, and finding a parking spot” are common battles, she said.
She is not the only commuter and she said, “most commuter students have the same distaste for long gaps in between classes, fearing getting a late start to class, and trying to find a parking spot anywhere and not some ridiculous spot on the road with a 10 minute walk.”
Kendall said, “Commuter council did not exist about a year ago.”  The group “started out fall of 2011 with 0 people,” she said.  “The club has become a lot more popular since last year,” she said, and the group is continually “improving every semester,” but “lots of people don’t know we are up and running yet.”
“Commuter Council is the best way I have found to meet other commuters,” Kendall said, which can sometimes be difficult for commuters.