I’m not going to lie, starting off the semester the way things are right now is definitely not what anyone could have imagined five months ago. Although 2020 can be summed up as being a living nightmare, life still goes on. Commuting to the university may look different this year (and may even be new to some), but there still is a variety of resources available to you.
Places to hang out on campus
The brand new Commuter’s Lounge, located in the basement of The Frick Center near The Roost — formerly where the mailroom was — is a designated space just for commuters to do their work while social distancing.
The library has group and solo study rooms that can be rented out on the upper and lower levels respectively, perfect for if you need a quiet place to do your online classes. Make sure to visit the library’s website to reserve a space to work anywhere in the library and to see the full list of guidelines.
In addition to the library, designated classrooms across campus are available for student use. These classrooms are Circle Hall 131, Daniels Hall 307, Hammerschmidt Chapel 005, Hammerschmidt Chapel 018A, Irion Hall 111, Memorial Hall 100, Old Main 102, Schaible 004, and Schaible 138. Make sure to stay masked and socially distanced while using this room with other students.
Of course, places such as the Founder’s Lounge, Cafeteria, and The Roost should still be available — arranged for social distancing — to spend time in.
The Tyrrell Fitness Center at Faganel Hall has strength and cardiovascular rooms for any commuter who wants to get a quick workout in. For those traveling back and forth from campus, the option to go to a gym is nice especially in-between classes or if you’re on campus all day anyway. Just make sure to bring your Jpass and follow all the health guidelines.
The Wellness Center is also available for commuter students for all of your health needs. Just make sure you make an appointment — walk-ins are suspended until further notice. In-person and telehealth services are available depending on your needs..
Going through your day on campus is only half the battle, and for those who don’t have their own car, getting there may be difficult. Two blocks down from campus is the Metra Downtown Station’s Union Pacific Western where you can get on at Elmhurst at Chicago OTC, Pace buses 332 where you can get on at York and Church, and 313 at St. Charles and Prospect. There are also taxi services, 303, American and Universal, and carpool options; Pace RideShare, ZipCar, Enterprise Car Share, and Waze Carpool. There are also EU’s own transportation services, the Bluejay shuttle and bike programs for traversing downtown Elmhurst. However, due to the prominence of COVID-19, the schedules may change during the year.
For those who have cars, there’s a chance you’ll be stopped by a freight train. If that were to happen, the underpass along Robert T. Palmer Drive (access it from York Street) and the underpass on Route 83/Kingery Highway (access it by taking North Avenue west and turning left onto Kingery Highway) are both good options to bypass it.
When you’re done with school, leaving campus late is bound to happen, and if by any chance you feel unsafe, contact security at (630)617-3000 or ext. 3000 from any campus phone and you can ask for an escort to be sent to walk with you. There’s even Emergency Blue Light phones located at Alexander, Mill Theatre, West Hall, and Schaible Science Center which automatically dial security at the press of its red button.
Lastly, being a commuter doesn’t and shouldn’t deter you from enjoying yourself and being involved on campus, as there are a plethora of clubs and organizations you can join to feel a part of the college life. What you do here is what you make it. The year 2020 has been a wild ride, but we can get through this and despite how crazy it has been. We can make it worthwhile all while being safe and looking out for one another.