The Queen’s experience works against off-campus students

Living at home during my time at university, I’ve become accustomed to friends forgetting that it takes me 40 minutes by bus to get to campus. Meeting up with classmates for a group project has to be scheduled into my day because of the large amount of time needed to travel to campus.  

According to the Queen’s website, roughly 95 per cent of students come from outside of Kingston. Understandably, many members of the Queen’s community assume all people follow the same pattern, but the other five per cent of students shouldn’t have their experiences ignored.

The Queen’s community is tailored towards an on-campus lifestyle with all Queen’s activities being located in or around campus. But those of us who live at the other end of Kingston need to either take a bus or a taxi to reach Queen’s, which, in winters like this one, isn’t always possible.

For example, there have been several days during this winter when the University didn’t cancel classes despite dangerous conditions. While most students don’t need to deal with driving on the roads, there are many who don’t have that luxury — for us, getting to Queen’s is more than just a quick walk. 

This tailored attitude means that central Queen’s experiences such as Orientation Week and Homecoming become more difficult to participate in for students living at home. These activities aren’t exactly tailored for students who may need to bring everything they need for the day with them to campus, or others who need to find a way home after a late night. 

Other students don’t recognize these added inconveniences and in a campus culture that caters towards students who live near campus, students living at home can start to feel excluded. 

To cater to all students and not typecast what the student experience should look like, Queen’s needs more groups that include students living off campus. The First Years Not in Residence Orientation (FYNIRS) program helps students who don’t live on campus find a community during Orientation Week — more programs like this throughout the years could be beneficial. 

One way for Queen’s to bridge the gap is to devise a bus system that doesn’t require students to transfer two or three buses to reach campus. By having shuttles that come to the areas of Kingston in which the buses don’t, we can give students expedited and safer travel to campus. 

By being more understanding of the difficulties students face while living off campus, we can create a more inclusive community that allows each student to have the post-secondary education that they came here for — not just the romanticized version with college housing and residence halls.

Zachary is one of The Journal’s Copy Editors. He’s a second-year English major.

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