Friday, December 21, 2012

The downside to the college bubble

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 3:52 PM

The College Blog is a partnership between City Newspaper and Rochester Institute of Technology Assistant Professor Dr. HindaMandell. Each week City will post blog posts from several of Mandell's journalism students, who will write about what concerns Rochester-area college students, both on and off campus.

As RIT students know, the campus itself is like its own little community. Everything that students need is all within the 1,300 acres that make up the campus.

"I think that we're in this little college bubble," said second-year student Caitlin Hoey.

With more than 20 dining locations, and shops ranging from an electronic store to a hair salon, students have access to everything that they could ever need.

The only thing that's lacking at RIT? The chance to get off campus regularly.

As someone who grew up in Washington state, a place where it was not only easy but common to take the bus 25 miles from Everett to Seattle, I've become accustomed to good public transportation. When I came to RIT, I was expecting public transportation to be equal to that of New York City's public transportation. Boy, was I wrong.

Twice have I taken a bus from RIT to Barnes and Noble in Henrietta (a 45-second commute) in which the bus driver stopped the bus so he could take a "15-minute break." Both times this little "break" turned into more than 20 minutes, sitting in a cold bus, with about 30 other people fiddling their thumbs.

"I appreciate that RIT has a free public transportation system, however there were many times I had to call friends or walk to get home because it was more convenient for me than the bus," said former RIT student Brittany Burke. "The reason I never moved off campus was because of lack of transportation to and from campus at all hours."

This lack of transportation is common for RIT students, especially younger students who may not have access to a car on campus.

"I don't get off campus very often," said Colleen Cambier, a freshman at RIT. "When I do I usually just get rides from friends or [sorority] sisters or my boyfriend."

Cambier said that she usually doesn't take the bus when she does go off campus.

"It's not always on time and the schedule is very confusing," she added.

RIT may have everything that a student could ever need right within its bubble, but college students can't - and shouldn't - stay in that bubble forever.

"I can't tell you how many times I have been to Jo-Ann Fabric, the mall, and Wegmans. Not because I needed anything, but because I needed an escape from RIT's campus," said Burke. "Sometimes you need to get away from that [campus] environment."

Photo by Jake Jones

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