Commuters get short end of the stick

By JESSIE OWENSBY
Co-Opinions Editor

Here’s my rant for the week. I have many rants and throw a lot of tantrums, so this is just one of many. I am 31 years old. I am married to a wonderful husband of ten years, and I have two very unruly, obnoxious children.
My husband and I are both students of this excellent center of learning that we call Piedmont College.
“Pookie bear,” also known as Mike, works full time at a very prestigious hospital, and I always have my nose in some big project. Oh, and we have student loans up to our ears.
This is not my life story. I do have a point.
I understand that Piedmont discriminates against commuters because the fact is, the college makes more money with residents. I’m cool with that. I know how business works.
However, if Piedmont is going to allow commuters to attend its school, which it doesn’t have to do because it’s private and can do whatever it wants, and to which I am eternally grateful to Piedmont for allowing me to attend, it should at least give commuters basic access to all scholarships that are available.
These are not only my thoughts. There are many other commuters across campus that I’m sure agree with me.
Did you know that if a commuter receives the Neighborhood Hometown Grant, he or she is not eligible for any other scholarship on campus? How is that fair to us who already pay for school without the help of a parent or sponsor?
Residents get all kinds of scholarships simply because they are residents. But commuters only get the one. Piedmont may have a good reason for this they they just haven’t shared with the students. At any rate, there are many commuters who are eligible for several other scholarships that they can’t get simply because they commute.
Let’s talk about academic scholarships. Residents are able to get them. They earn a certain amount of money based on their grades.
My husband and I, though we are very busy, are able to maintain 4.0 GPAs. However, neither of us have seen any scholarship money for our academic efforts. Why? We aren’t eligible because we are commuters. So should I let my grades go and stop working so hard because I don’t reap the benefits of my work? I think not. But I could.
Another example is the Mass Communications Student Leadership Council (SLC). Everyone on the council gets scholarship money for their hard work and dedication to the student media. That is, unless they commute. Commuters on the SLC put in as much work and commitment as everyone else, but they don’t get the scholarship for it.
The same situation goes for Student Government Association, or any one of the leadership organizations on campus. I just have to do it because I love it. It’s like working for free. How dumb is that?
Do you know how many other commuters would have the want and the will to get more involved in clubs, associations, societies, and whatever else you want to call it, if they were treated equally? I’m not whining and moaning about it, obviously, because I’m the dumb one still doing the work, but my job as a member of The Navigator, and as a student at Piedmont College, is to leave it better than I found it. It’s to work for justice and equally. It’s to be a voice for all commuters who attend this school. My job is to let the student body know of any wrong doing or injustice.
This, my peers, is wrong.
Non-traditional students can’t live on campus because they don’t meet the requirements. They may have a family. Because they can’t live on campus, they can’t get the same treatment as residents.
Look, they’re just trying to make something of themselves. They’re just trying to give my children someone to look up to.
My husband is trying to do the same. We want to be good role models and good parents.
All I’m asking is for equal rights. That’s it.
If Piedmont allows commuters to attend, it should allow all students to receive any scholarships they are eligible for. It should play fair. That’s it.
All I want is to have the same opportunities to succeed as traditional students. You want to know why commuters don’t get more involved? Ask one. They will be glad to fill you in.