Commuter Services and Information
Off-Campus Student Life (OCSL) offers a variety of programs and services for students living off campus -- whether across the street or across the Twin Cities. Monthly Bagel Wednesdays (the first Wednesday of each month) and our annual Study Day Breakfast in the fall bring together neighborhood students and distance commuters.
We also have programs that serve specific populations of off-campus students.
Commuter Mentor Program
The Commuter Mentor program pairs incoming, first-year students with a commuter mentor (CM) who can serve as a resource throughout their first semester. Each mentor works with a small group of commuters and plans activities and events to participate in as a group. Groups meet throughout the fall semester to discuss campus resources, activities and being a commuter. Not only do first-year students connect with their mentors, they also form connections within their group. Your CM will keep you informed of campus events and be available to answer questions you may have.
For questions, or to double-check who your commuter mentor is, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commuter Learning Community
New first-year students living off campus will have the opportunity to participate in the Commuter Learning Community. This community connects commuter students with one another, facilitates their growth and development as they transition into their first semester at St. Thomas, and sets them up for success in the semesters to come.
Each commuter will be enrolled in one of their required core curriculum classes, either Theology 101 or Philosophy 115. These sections will consist of only first-year commuter students and will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:55 a.m. until noon. Students will also be enrolled in an associated “lab” section on Wednesdays from noon until 1 p.m.
Over these noon hours, student will:
- Explore the StrengthsQuest assessment and how to apply their strengths at St. Thomas and beyond.
- Discover campus resources designed to support their success.
- Connect with one another socially.
- Build relationships with faculty and staff who support the program.
- Enjoy a free lunch!
We want to help our first-year commuter students create a strong beginning. This community was established to support students, providing a strong foundation to support their success at St. Thomas in the years to come.
Commuter-Resident Partnership Program
The CRP program is designed for new first-year and transfer commuter students. At the University of St. Thomas, we define commuter students as those who do not live in university-owned housing. Generally speaking, about 8-12% of entering first-year students commute to campus (from a few blocks to several miles). The CRP program is an opportunity for new commuter students to:
Join a residence hall community
Receive invitations from your Resident Advisor to participate in activities
Access residence halls with your UST ID card
Meet other new first-year students
Commuter/resident partnerships have existed informally for a long time. However, in the past, commuter students were considered visitors to the hall. Through the CRP program, commuter students have the opportunity to join an entire residence hall floor and receive all of the benefits of being a resident student (except having a room!)
Your Resident Advisor will serve as an additional campus resource beyond your CM and will notify you of floor meetings, activities and events. You will also have guest UST ID card access to the designated residence halls.
If you are interested in signing up for the Commuter-Resident Partnership program, contact us at email@example.com
Although some of our off-campus students commute from far distances across the cities, more than 2,000 of our undergraduates live within a mile of campus, in the Student Housing Overlay District. We offer a variety of programs and services for our neighborhood students, including:
- Renter Education: St. Thomas wants to prepare students for the responsibilities and realities of living off campus in a family-oriented neighborhood. Our fall Renter 101 program targets students in residence halls who may be considering a move off campus; the two-part Student-Tenant Education Program (STEP) is held each winter and spring for students who have made that choice and want to be apprised of city laws, how to engage with their landlord, how to meet other neighbors and more.
- Neighborhood Student Advisors: NSAs are undergraduate students who work with Neighborhood Relations to plan and implement programs for students who live in the neighborhoods around St. Thomas. Programs range from our annual cookie-dough event (which facilitates meetings over freshly baked cookies), Study Monday yoga, cooking classes and meet-your-neighbor events. Watch our programs page to see what's coming up. To be assigned to an NSA, contact Director of Neighborhood Relations Amy Gage at 651-962-6123.
- Multi-modal Education: "Multi-modal" refers to biking, walking, cycling, scootering, riding the bus or light-rail -- in short, any means of getting around without a car, which is both easy and advisable in our urban neighborhood. From Transportation Trivia in Scooter's and Bike-Walk-Roll to Campus Day to our annual Metro Transit trainings, OCSL partners with Move Minnesota and the Office of Sustainability Initiatives on innovative ways to encourage climate health and discourage driving.
- Walk-throughs: Every fall, Off-Campus Student Life partners with Undergraduate Student Government to coordinate a neighborhood walkthrough. NSAs and other volunteers go door to door interacting with the students who rent in the neighborhoods around St. Thomas. They share information about living in the neighborhood, including how to be a respectful neighbor, how to get involved in the community and how to become engaged in Off-Campus Student Life.
- Green Move-Out: This small but growing program encourages our neighborhood students to donate and recycle goods before spring move-out, whether it's usable furniture for Bridging, blankets and towels for Emotional Rescue in Hastings, Minnesota, or discardable electronics that can be recycled at Tech Dump. Click here to learn more about the social service agencies that can benefit from stuff you no longer use.
- Neighborhood Councils: St. Paul is divided into 17 district councils that foster citizen input and make recommendations to the City Council. Our St. Paul campus straddles two of those councils -- Union Park District Council and Macalester-Groveland Community Council -- and we encourage and enable our students to become involved. St. Thomas also co-leads the city-chartered West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee (WSNAC), made up of university administrators and neighbor representatives from four different neighborhood groups.