California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Commuters will gain new sanctuary

    Do you see students hanging out in the library for hours at a time? Maybe you see them in Ahmanson Science Center? Those students are probably commuters who have nowhere to go between classes and nowhere to call their own.

    California Lutheran University is in the final stages of building a $15 million two-level dining commons that will change the struggle of the commuter student for the better.

    According to CLU News & Information, plans had been scaled back because of a limited budget, but a $2 million gift from the Ullman Foundation allowed CLU to go back to the original design. Therefore, it will be called the Ullman Commons.

    When commuters get out of class, they may face a long break before their next class.

    What is there to do? Nap in the car? Leave campus to go eat and then lose parking? Sit in the library? Now, the Ullman Commons will have many options for the commuter student.

    According to the CLU website,โ€œThe first floor will hold a coffee bar and student lounge that will be open until midnight and a conference center with three banquet rooms and a private dining room.โ€

    โ€œOn the second floor will be a market with extended hours and a main dining area with a pizza oven, pasta bar, grill, soup and salad bar, dessert bar and a deli station with fresh baked bread, sandwiches and wraps. An international food station will offer made-to-order Mongolian grill, Asian wok and vegan menu choices,โ€ according to the CLU website.

    The current dining commons has been a place for students with meal plans, excluding commuters from access unless they are swiped in. The new commons, however, will offer space that can be utilized by the entire student population.

    The old cafeteria will become the new Student Union Building, providing offices and more space for the Student Affairs staff to serve studentsโ€™ needs.

    This should attract moreย  commuters by providing additional space for them to relax in between breaks.

    โ€œThere are people at CLU who have no idea what is going on and no place to hang out,โ€ said Dominic Lunde, secretary of the Commuter Connection Club.

    While CLU does try to help commuters in some ways and the new commons is a start, more can be done by surveying what students needs are.

    โ€œI like the commuter lunches. But, they should be supplemented with other things,โ€ said Emily Witt, co-president of the Commuter Connection Club.

    The Student Affairs staff should be more observant of what the studentsโ€™ needs and preferences are for the Ullman Commons and future Student Union.

    โ€œI would like printers, microwaves and computers in the lounge,โ€ Witt said. โ€œIt would be more convenient than the current options and we would be able to bring more of our own food.โ€

    Many residents have the advantages of going to their dorms between classes or hanging out with their friends. Giving commuters more places to pass time is a sign that CLU is trying to reach out to the large commuter population.

    โ€œI think they definitely kept the commuters in mind. I talked to the guy in charge, but I donโ€™t think that there was really much that they could do this year in terms of changing plans,โ€ said Cody Jones, vice president of the Commuter Connection Club. โ€œThey designed this with the commuter community in mind.โ€

    Although students were not directly included in the design planning for the Ullman Commons, they did take their time to see what would benefit more students, not just those who live on campus.

    โ€œThey didnโ€™t ask the Commuter Connection Club directly, but they definitely have done their research and a lot of it. I am excited for the new place,โ€ Jones said.

    โ€œI think the commons is the first step that will provide commuters with a place to hang out and get to know each other,โ€ Witt said. โ€œFrom there, other positive changes will occur naturally.โ€

    The Ullman Commons is a great start to creating a more enjoyable college experience for commuters. However, so much more can be achieved once CLU seeks the advice of students living on and off campus.


    Shannon Cullen
    Staff Writer
    Published April 9, 2014