More than just commuting

It began in 1974 as the Women’s Commuter Organization. It later came to be called “Road Runners.” Today, they are known as the Association of Commuter Students at the University of Miami.

They are sometimes referred to as a cult, some call them a clique, but members of this highly spirited organization describe themselves as a family.

“We are united under our common interest in spirit,” ACS President Jaife Calil said. “We are very passionate about UM.”

Located in the UC I-Lounge, ACS headquarters are open from “dusk ’til past dawn,” serving members with simple luxuries of microwave and fridge use, couches, blankets and camaraderie to fill the gaps between classes.

However, ACS goes beyond supplying these comforts  by encouraging members to participate in extracurricular activities.

“ACS provides a home away from home to commuter students and fosters spirit within the commuter community,” Calil said. “We tailgate at the football games and we sit first row. Last year for Homecoming we won first place and most spirited, which is, I think, the first time that’s ever happened.”

According to Calil, residential students are more easily swayed into being involved on campus, whereas it is up to commuter students to seek out involvement opportunities on their own.

ACS is a vessel to promote school participation within the commuter community. Most members lead active lives on campus, taking part in various other clubs, activities, and executive boards.

According to Calil, ACS members have been very influential to the school.

ACS alumni started Category 5, current members chartered the new fraternity Pi Kappa Phi and past members have served as Sebastian the Ibis.

With approximately 160 members, ACS is the largest organization on campus.

“We get asked to help out on a lot of different events because of our size,” Calil said, citing Gandhi Day and Relay for Life as examples.

Though ACS lends a helping hand on many campus projects throughout the year, the club is hoping to sponsor its own activities.

Lily Oyarzun, the ACS community service chair, has a few projects in the works, mainly community service and fundraising events.

“We have a toy drive coming up in December, and we’re trying to start something with a charity where we host events year-round for that charity, hopefully starting around Thanksgiving. We know we definitely want to have something planned for Valentine’s Day and Easter,” Oyarzun said.

For 35 years, ACS has been committed to the all-around needs of commuter students. It has evolved into a strong network of students and alumni dedicated to the university.

“We’re members for life,” Oyarzun said.

Calil agrees. “As corny as that sounds, it’s the truth.”

October 27, 2009


Marisa Hivner

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.