Written By: Naomi Stuart
The Highlands room in Festival was full of students on Wednesday 10/16, who were coming and going in between classes, taking advantage of the free food and information provided to them from 11-1 pm by OCL at the Commuter Breakfast. Walking in, students would be greeted by employees running the event. Signs made the event clear and accessible, and a great surprise to those who stopped by Festival in between their classes.
Many students were relieved to be able to have a free meal and liked seeing an event that cared about helping students with basic needs. There was a huge buffet breakfast right upon entering that included french toast, quiche, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries, and more. There were also large dispensers of coffee and hot water for tea, and students could even fill up their own containers to take to class and energize on a slow rainy day.
“It’s a good chance to just meet other people. It’s a way to find community in something disconnected from campus,” said Kristen Connors, a Senior Independent Scholars major, “I like that they’re putting an effort towards helping students with basic needs.” Kristen attended the event the previous year as well and was eager to see it back again.
“It’s really nice to get free food without a punch,” said Hayley Grove, a Senior Biology major. Hayley heard about the event from people in her class, all of whom were grateful for something to brighten their long school day and help them save some money.
Food was not the only resource provided at the event. Students could be seen checking some OCL merchandise as well as pamphlets addressing a variety of commuter topics, such as housing options, lease information, and the UDAP program. The UDAP program is another way the university can support commuters with basic needs, by helping them with expensive down payments on their utilities.
While some commuters might find it difficult in their busy days to find the OCL office and get the help they need, the Commuter Breakfast was able to help by showing support for commuter students and providing an easy way for them to pick up information they might have otherwise missed out on. Check out all this information and dates and times for the springtime Commuter Breakfast on OCL’s website https://info.jmu.edu/ocl/.