Commuters, meet Ashley Taggart, your voice in Student Government.
Taggart, a senior majoring in microbiology and immunology, has been involved with freshman orientation and commuter programs since her freshman year when she attended Great Start, a pre-orientation program for incoming commuter students that emphasizes campus involvement.
“Great Start was my drug and after that I got involved in anything commuter-related or anything orientation-related,” Taggart said. “I was one of those kids who went to orientation, and went to every single event and loved it all.”
She was asked to join the “Taking U Forward” ticket because of this “fresh perspective.”
“It started with Brandon and Jake asking me,” Taggart said. “They decided that they wanted someone part of their executive board that wasn’t involved with SG before and someone who represented a different part of the student body that they couldn’t represent.”
Taggart represents the commuter students at UM.
“Even more specifically, I represent that population of commuter students that are from Miami and maybe still live at home with their parents,” Taggart said. “Their campus life and their college experience is completely different from someone who has lived on campus before.”
Promotion is an important part of attracting commuters.
“Whenever a program that we want to put on is coming up, we always have to think about will it target just residential students, will commuter students get involved, will they hear about it, will they want to go to it,” Taggart said.
As a Miami native who lives with her parents, Taggart said she understands what attracts commuters to events.
“Commuter students, a lot of them, tend to come to school in the morning, go to their classes, hang out in the I-lounge and then head home,” Taggart said. “If a program is being put on too late and it’s not appealing enough, they probably won’t come to it.”
Despite some of the difficulties of commuting, Taggart enjoys living at home.
“It’s tough sometimes because my parents are those strict parents,” she said. “They need to know where I am at all times. But I have home cooked meals and my bed’s really comfortable.”