The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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University Student Senate expands representation

Marharyta Mashliakevich ’22 in the Commuter Lounge. PHOTO: ROSE BARRETT ’20 / THE HAWK

At-large senator seat added for commuter students

The University Student Senate (USS) passed a constitutional amendment on Nov. 5 that added an at-large senator seat specifically for a commuter student.

Marharyta Mashliakevich ’22 was appointed to the position on Dec. 2.

“I think it is a really great idea to have the commuter seat because other students who live on campus aren’t even aware of how hard it is sometimes for commuter students,” Mashliakevich said.

Currently about four percent of St. Joe’s students are registered as commuters, according to Mashliakevich.

“There has been a widely-held concern for their representation for quite some time, especially after years of what I would call general erosion of their voice and interests,” said Student Senate President Jason D’Antonio ’19.

Mashliakevich addressed challenges for commuter students such as attending events or meetings, like as Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions, that are held in the evenings or on the weekends, working off-campus jobs, the price of parking and getting involved on campus, especially for freshmen.

“I just think it is important for someone to have a voice and address those issues and try to solve them to make commuter students lives easier on campus,” Mashliakevich said.

Mashliakevich added that one of the most frequently discussed challenges for commuter students is parking on campus.

One of her first plans as a senator is to look more into the issues surrounding parking, such as price and space, and take action to lighten the burden for students who drive to campus every day.

D’Antonio also noted that St. Joe’s started as a commuter school, and students who commute to campus continue to make up a significant portion of the constituency.

“Our goal is to become more aware of commuter-specific issues, but also incorporate them in general matters that involve the entire undergraduate body,” D’Antonio said. “Issues such as the state of the commuters’ lounge, community outreach and persistent parking difficulties are great items the senator would be able to spearhead or collaborate on.”

Ryan Nicholas ’20, a commuter student, feels that he is included in the campus community and is able to be involved on campus.

“My biggest struggle as a commuter student is trying to manage my time effectively,” Nicholas said. “Travel time tends to add up over the course of a week and can take away from time that could have been spent studying or getting more involved on campus.”

Nicholas said that he thinks it will be good to have a representative on USS for commuters as they will be able to provide a new perspective.

Mashliakevich expresses similar feelings about a representative on senate providing a new outlook and support for the challenges presented to commuter students.

“There are so many issues that commuter students have to face and I just think that neither faculty or students that live on campus are aware of all those things,” Mashliakevich said.


Erin Breen ’19 contributed to this story.

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