This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Questions &Answers

Published: April 22, 2004

Andrea Costantino is director of student life.

How do you define commuter students?
Commuter students are students who do not live on campus in a residence hall or apartment. The image that most people think of when they hear the word "commuter" is of someone who lives in the suburbs and must drive a long distance in bad traffic on the highway to work everyday. Commuting to the University at Buffalo may entail catching a bus or riding a bike, walking, rollerblading or driving a car to campus. Essentially, if you are a student who lives off campus in housing that is not owned by, operated by or affiliated with the university, you are considered a commuter student. This category includes students who commute from home and students who have moved to the area to attend college. Nationwide, more than 87 of college students commute to campus. Here at UB, approximately 72 percent of our students are considered commuters.

Are students living off campus in University Heights considered commuter students?
Yes, students who live in apartments and houses in the University Heights neighborhood do live off-campus and would be considered commuter students.

How many students commute to UB? Are they mostly undergraduates?
The approximate number of commuter students on the UB campus is 19,700—or 72 percent—of which approximately 11,000 are undergraduates. Sixty-two percent of all undergraduates commute to UB. There are approximately 7,545 beds in the University Residence Halls and Apartments.

UB for years has had a reputation of being a commuter school. Is that still the case?
Although university housing has grown tremendously over the past several years, it's hard to argue with the numbers. With more than 72 percent of our student population defined as commuters, we are upholding our reputation as primarily a commuter school.

What are some of the special challenges that commuter students face?r
Commuter students are diverse in many ways: age, racial/ethnic identity, family status, working status, how one commutes to campus, distance one commutes, living arrangements and so forth. In spite of all the differences, commuter students do have common concerns, which include time management, transportation, balancing multiple roles, managing households, caring for family members, establishing college roots and getting "connected" to campus life. These issues are what we in Student Affairs try to combat through a variety of programs and services.

What programs and services does Student Affairs provide to help commuter students feel connected to the UB community?
Through a variety of programs and services, Student Affairs is committed to enhancing the commuter student's experience and help them to succeed in both academic and out-of-the-classroom endeavors. Student Life currently offers:

  • Commuter Lounge. Located in 240 Student Union, the Commuter Lounge is open from 7:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, and 7:30-2 a.m. on Friday. The lounge is a place for commuter students to relax and meet up with friends during their "down time" on campus. The Commuter Lounge features quiet study rooms, commuter information, a big screen TV, a microwave and a refrigerator.

  • Commuter Depot. The Commuter Depot, located in 240 Student Union, has current NFTA Metro Bus schedules and information about car maintenance and defensive driving.

  • Student Involvement Directory. The Student Involvement Directory (http://www.getinvolved is a quick, convenient way for students to find clubs and organizations at UB that match their interests

  • Metro Passes. Flash passes are sold at the Sub-Board I Ticket Office, located in 221, Student Union. Ticket Office hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday. Passes go on sale 10 days prior to the designated month of the pass.

  • The Commuter Ride Board. The Commuter Ride Board is where students post their contact information if they are interested in carpooling to UB. Perhaps students need transportation or perhaps they're looking for someone with whom to share driving expenses. Carpooling may offer the solution. The Ride Board is located on the 2nd floor of the Student Union, across from Pistachio's.

  • The Commuter Listserv. The e-newsletter is a great way to get connected to UB. We'll send commuters announcements, and the e-newsletter will keep them informed of upcoming events and helpful services. To be included, students should email their full name and e-mail address to

Does Student Affairs offer any assistance for students who want to move from the residence halls to off-campus housing?
Yes, there is an off-campus student services coordinator who functions as a resource for students who are seeking information for: conducting a rental property search, inspecting a rental property before signing a lease, important telephone numbers within the community, referrals for legal assistance and information about ways to become positively engaged in their local neighborhood, as well as how be a good neighbor within the "City of Good Neighbors."