Transfer and Off-Campus Student Life invited University of Maryland commuters to the final Good Morning Commuters event of the semester at the Atrium in Stamp Student Union on Dec. 2.

“GMC is a non-ticketed event that takes place on the first Wednesday of each operating month in the fall and spring semesters,” said Mary Schulte, a graduate assistant for TOCSL.  “Including today’s GMC, we have served approximately 1,500 commuters total this semester.”

Round banquet tables were set up throughout the room and long serving tables filled with breakfast lined the brick walls.

“We serve fresh pressed juice, bagels, coffee and vegan muffins provided by the Maryland Food Co-op,” Schulte said. “We have gluten-free options too.”

The layout of GMC promotes social engagement for commuters within the campus, she said.

“After grabbing some breakfast, I quickly try to decide which table I want to sit at,” she Sandaru Silva, a junior business major and commuter.  “Tables are never empty and their round shapes encourage social engagement since you can’t hide your face from the people sitting around you.”

Top trending music is played throughout the event as well, she said.

“TOCSL is designed to support, connect and engage transfer and off-campus students at the university,” said Amber Frazier, graduate assistant for TOCSL. “Our media, activities and events are intended to address each of these goals in a different way.”

Besides providing breakfast, TOCSL also hosts activities, guest speakers and sponsors at GMC.

“GMC’s sponsors clue the commuters about the resources the university has to offer,” Schulte said. “Sponsors for this month’s GMC are the University Club and Memorial Chapel.”

Denise McHugh, coordinator of the Memorial Chapel, said GMC is a great event for organizations and departments to share what they have to offer for this university’s commuters.

“Hundreds of commuters come to GMC and it’s great to have them come up to my information desk,” she said. “GMC has this engaging atmosphere where making conversation and sharing information with other commuters is very pleasant.”

Through professional and personal experience, Keya Burks, program director for TOCSL, found commuter students tend to lack the sense of community and belongingness compared to on-campus students.

“Commuter students make up over half of the enrolled student population and it’s important for them to know that the university is making an effort to better cater them,” she said.

Sawyer Smith, a junior economics major, believes GMC is an event all commuters should attend at least once.

“The people that attend come from different backgrounds and it’s a lot of fun to socialize with one another while enjoying high quality food and drinks with good music playing in the background,” he said.  “There are not many other events on campus that have the means to do that.”

GMC will be back for the spring semester in the new year.

Featured Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Pedro Figueiredo’s flickr account.

Jennifer Pham is a junior multiplatform journalism major and may be reached at jenaipham@gmail.com

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