September 1, 2014
Program Helps Commuter Students Connect With UT Dallas Campus
Sept. 24, 2013
Janell Adkins-Mills took advantage of the breakfast that the Road Warriors program offered to commuting students last week.
Finance freshman Janell Adkins-Mills promised herself she’d get involved in campus life at UT Dallas, even though she commutes to school every day from Rockwall.
During Freshman Orientation, she signed up for Road Warriors, a program that helps commuter students connect with on-campus activities and organizations. By the time classes began this fall, Adkins-Mills had connected with other commuter students and they were able to attend Welcome Week activities together.
It helped her make friendships quickly.
“I definitely met a whole lot of people. Some of us have even done things off campus together. I’ve really enjoyed my first few weeks here,” said Adkins-Mills.
The Road Warriors program helps enrich the college experience for students who don’t live on campus by helping them plug in quickly, said Dan Long, assistant director for new student programs. There are about 17,000 commuter students this fall at the University.
Kingsley Oladeji says Road Warriors will help him keep in touch with campus.
“We want them to be able to explore all the great programs, events and student organizations the University has to offer, but most people don’t want to go by themselves,” Long said. “Our mission is to give commuter students the information and resources they need to feel connected to campus and to succeed.”
Road Warriors links commuter students with social activities sponsored by the Student Union Activities and Advisory Board, including dances, live music, comic acts and movies on campus, as well as sports events. The program also provides information on student organizations and offers study lounge areas with snacks.
On a recent weekday morning, Road Warriors sponsored a breakfast for commuter students on the mall. About 500 took advantage of the free bagels and cream cheese.
Among them was postgrad student Kingsley Oladeji, who has been working on completing prerequisites for medical school since 2011. He chose UT Dallas because it’s close to his home in Plano and fits with his busy schedule.
Oladeji works as a nurse on weekends and also mentors kids through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. He figures Road Warriors is an easy way to stay in the loop at UT Dallas.
David Larson says he feels at home on campus.
“This is the first time I’ve heard about Road Warriors, so I signed up to get the updates,” Oladeji said.
David Larson, a new supply chain management major from McKinney, saw posters on campus about the bagel breakfast.
“I happened to not have breakfast this morning, so I took advantage of this,” he said. “I appreciate the support they’re providing for us commuters.”
Larson said even though he already feels “very much at home” on campus, he still planned to participate in Road Warriors to stay informed.
“Being in college is my full-time job, so I want the emails about everything that’s going on,” he said.
Adkins-Mills, who also works part-time as a bank teller, said she would recommend Road Warriors for any busy commuter student who wants to feel more connected at UT Dallas.
“I really, really wanted to be part of campus. I love it,” she said.