Commuter center gets top award

Students can hang out, study and relax at the Commuter Student Resource Center. UIC Photo Services

The Commuter Student Resource Center, a place for students to relax, study or socialize in Student Center East, received the highest award of excellence from the national association of student affairs professionals.

The association, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, gave the center its Gold Excellence Award “for transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services, and effective administration” in the category for off-campus, commuter and other nontraditional students.

The center, located on the second floor behind Inner Circle, is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

It has public computers and printers, a kitchen, locker rooms with showers and lactation rooms. Full-time staff provide programming and services to help student commuters feel more connected to the campus.

The center opened for fall semester in 2010 and now averages more than 3,000 student-visits per week.

Commuters make up 85 percent of UIC’s student population. Creating a place specifically for them was a goal in the strategic plan created by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, led by Barbara Henley.

“Our overarching goals were to assist commuting students with feeling connected to the campus and each other while highlighting helpful campus and community resources,” said Kelly McCray, director of student development services.

“Last year, the Commuter Student Resource Center recorded over 66,000 visits, which points to how useful commuter students have found the staff, facilities and programs.”

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