Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


A Place to Call Home

  • News Image
    Shelby Alvarez makes use of the lockers in the new commuter student lounge.
  • News Image
    Maria Mathis and Meredith Donaldson are among the students who use the commuter lounge. The two are shown here at an open house for the lounge. (Photo by Maritza Robles)

New lounge gives commuter students an area of their own

The lounge area on the second floor of the Prothro Center has always been popular with commuter students because it offered a quiet and uncrowded place to study between classes.

This fall, the area has officially been designated as a commuter student lounge. And in addition to providing a comfortable place to study, it offers a half kitchen where students who commute to Southwestern can eat lunch and lockers where they can store items during the day.

“We wanted to create a space that feels like a home base for commuter students,” said Derek Timourian, assistant dean for student life.

While the study area and kitchen were already on the second floor, Timourian said a survey of commuter students that was done last spring found that lockers were the one thing they said were missing. Over the summer, 45 lockers were installed in a nearby room that used to serve as an office.

“It’s a great idea,” said Shelby Alvarez, who commutes to Southwestern from her home in Leander.

Alvarez is among the students who have enrolled at Southwestern as a result of the university’s Strengthening Pathways program, which is run in partnership with Austin Community College. Eighteen students are now attending Southwestern as a result of this program, all of whom are commuter students.

Timourian said the commuter lounge – which is accessible 24 hours a day – is just the latest in a series of things Southwestern has done to accommodate its growing population of non-traditional students.

“Some of these students are only on campus two days a week,” Timourian said. “This helps put them in proximity of other students like themselves so they create a support system for each other.”


−Maritza Robles