Commuter and Off-Campus Communities Office
Drexel University, located along the Schuylkill River in University City, is in an urban environment providing easy access to our community, and downtown Philadelphia. We advocate for the growing population of students living off-campus and recognize the unique needs of living in the surrounding neighborhoods of the University. Our office is dedicated to the support and engagement of these student populations. Regardless of whether you reside two blocks from campus or two hours, our office is committed to supporting your student experience as a Drexel University Dragon. We are able to focus our efforts to meet the needs of our students through a three-tiered approach: Commuter Student Engagement, Off-Campus Housing, and Community Assistants (CA's). Each approach provides resources and components to help guide our students to be successful commuters and community members.
Commuter Student Engagement (CSE)
The Commuter and Off-Campus Communities Office (COCO) specifically serves all aspects of our commuter student population by providing student learning and engagement opportunities outside of an academic setting. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on the campus experience for our commuter students and the need for their increased involvement in extracurricular activities.
CSE focuses on four core areas:
- Orientation and Networking
- Academic Resources
- Community Student Association (CSA)
To further develop a sense of community for our commuter population on campus, COCO, in conjunction with the Community Student Association (CSA) develops programs to foster a sense of belonging amongst commuters, advocates for the needs of the commuter population, and empowers students to educate faculty and staff about the unique needs of commuter students. COCO also focuses on working with campus partners to provide students with welcoming work spaces and facilities, which meet students’ needs, including: computers, televisions, basic kitchen appliances, and storage space.
Some of our other services include:
- Develop co-curricular learning and other opportunities to foster community between residential students and our commuters.
- Communicate developments on campus and in the surrounding community that impact the commuter student experience.
- Provide and maintain a commuter-friendly space on campus including a recreational lounge and locker space.
- Advocate and support the unique needs of commuters and students off campus.
- Provide programs and mentorship opportunities to prepare new and tenured students to successfully navigate Drexel University.
Off Campus Housing (OCH)
Our office helps provide numerous resources and services to assist students as they navigate through the entire process of living off campus and commuting to Drexel University. We understand that it’s a big transition in your collegiate career and we want to make sure you are knowledgeable and capable when the time comes for you to venture off-campus. As mentioned above, there are a number of resources dedicated to maintaining your student experience as you begin commuting to campus, as well.
In partnership with Off Campus Partners, our office is able to provide students with a one-stop shop for all the needs of students who desire to live off campus. Off Campus Partners offers a number of features and resources that support the students’ ability to make decisions regarding their living situations confidently, including:
- Search for apartments in the University City and greater Philadelphia areas.
- Buy, sell, or search for furniture and appliances through the message boards.
- Search and find future roommates.
- Learn more about leases, off-campus safety, sustainability, and more through the many worksheets and guides.
We host an annual Housing Fair, which brings landlords and community partners from across the city to our campus to connect students with information and resources. Our office encourages students to facilitate landlord-tenant interactions and empowers students to seek solutions to off-campus challenges and to advocate for themselves.
Throughout the academic year, Drexel University and our office offer workshops to educate students on being responsible tenants and good neighbors. Workshops cover a variety of off-campus housing-related topics, including searching for housing, budgeting for the off-campus experience, and the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. In addition, our Community Assistants (CA's), in part, are tasked with building and facilitating stronger interactions within the communities in which our students reside. Through programming, advocacy, and education our CA's will help our off-campus students negotiate positive relationship building, development, and sustainability.
Community Assistants (CA's)
As extensions of our professional staff team, Community Assistants are designed to work with our local partners to help facilitate stronger community bonds. Similarly, just as a Resident Assistant (RA) supports resident students by contributing to their growth and smoothing their transition to college life, a Community Assistant (CA) does the same for students who commute or live in proximity to Drexel University. In addition, other roles of the CA's include:
- Serve as peer mentors and resources for first-year commuter students.
- Develop neighborhood programs and educational sessions, as a means to foster a stronger understanding of the community's needs.
- Create and manage our ongoing communications with commuter and off-campus students regarding events, policy changes, and resources related to our office and the University.
- Collaborate and work with the Community Student Association (CSA) to enhance the experience of this special population.
This three-tiered approach to supporting and assisting our students helps promote the development of the commuter and off-campus student population. In addition, it allows the Commuter and Off-Campus Communities Office to continue to develop an increased awareness and understanding of the needs of students and improve upon the tools available to overcome obstacles and ease the burdens students face throughout their collegiate careers.