Commuter students find a haven

After back-to-back lectures, or during long stretches between classes, students who live in the University of Miami dormitories can go to their rooms to seek sanctuary from the daily stresses of student life. Students who live off-campus go to the office of the Association of Commuter Students.

The word “office” hardly sounds like a sanctuary, but it is actually similar to a lounge.

The ACS office is located in the Whitten University Center in Room 236. It’s decorated with pictures of past ACS events. There are several couches, a TV/VCR, a video-library and several trophies for commuter students’ achievements in community service and intramural sports. A refrigerator is stocked with goodies for all ACS members.

“It’s like our home, some people even sleep here,” says audio-engineering student Miriam Cortez, who joined ACS last year as a freshman.

The Department of Commuter Students Affairs provides a variety of services and programs through ACS intended for to help students who live off campus become involved with university activities and make campus life more enjoyable and convenient.

In July, ACS sponsors Great Start, a pre-orientation program for incoming commuter freshman to help them get the feel of the campus during the calm of the summer sessions.

Once fall semester begins, ACS hold pizza sales and car washes to raise money for tail-gating parties during the Miami Hurricanes football season.

“It’s a great organization to get involved with and any student will have fun,” says Webb Morgan, Assistant Director of Orientation and Commuter Student Affairs since last June. “It provides a network for commuters to meet people.”

Throughout the year, ACS helps causes off-campus. Last year, for example through Hurricanes Help the Hometown, students cleaned-up, painted and restored Homestead playgrounds.

Hawaiian Hurricane Hookup, another ACS sponsored service, raised $800 for the American Diabetes Association by sponsoring a Hurricane singles auction. The auction allowed students to bid on 20 bachelors and bachelorettes from the football and cheerleading teams and a free dinner at the Ratskeller.

ACS enters a float in the Hurricane Homecoming parade and also participates in Organize Cheer, a competition among campus organization of who has the most spirited dance and cheer-song with a chosen them. Last year the theme was Out of the ’80s.

ACS is infamous for their “Brown-Floater,” which competes in the annual UM Cardboard Boat Race held at Lake Osceola against architecture and engineering students in the spring.

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