How getting involved on campus pays

Incentives abound. (Photo by Brandon Nogueira_
Incentives abound. (Photo by Brandon Nogueira)

By Angela Renzi
For years it has been proven that when people are promised to benefit from their efforts, they are more likely to participate in events that will grant them their eventual reward. A group on the Fitchburg State campus that is no stranger to this tactic is the Commuter Affairs Program. Commuter Affairs is a function of the Office of Student Development in the Hammond Campus Center that is immensely dedicated to getting commuter students more involved in campus life, and with their new Commuter Cash program, they’ve accomplished just that. So what is Commuter Cash exactly, and how does it work? Commuter Affairs Assistant David Demosthenes says that Commuter Cash as a credit card system for commuters.
“The more events they go to, the more Commuter Cash they earn. At the end of the semester, there will be a big auction, and the more points on your card equals bigger and better prizes!”
With a system like that, it’s no wonder commuters are crazy for Commuter Cash! Students are able to earn commuter cash at events by presenting their cash card to be punched or initialed by a Commuter Affairs staff member. The clever incentive program was originated this semester by Coordinator of Commuter Affairs and Leadership on campus, Becky Lindley. Lindley oversees both programs and she, along with her staff, are dedicated to ensuring that commuters have the best possible experience at Fitchburg State, and plenty of day time events to attend.
The events, (conveniently scheduled around commuters’ schedules), range from helpful information sessions to recreational activities such as a “Not Your Average S’mores” event. The event took place on the Main Lounge Patio and students were able to put a special twist on everyone’s beloved dessert with new ingredients such as Reeses cups, Andes mints, peppermint patties, and fudge dipped cookies. This event alone garnered over 100 student attendees and several to sign up to Commuter Cash.
It is impossible to ignore that the program has resulted in more students than ever before to attend events. As Commuter Affairs Manager Stacey Thomas states, “Right now, there are roughly 300 students signed up to Commuter Cash.”
Another perk of the program besides being able to win some awesome prizes is how the Commuter Cash for each student is tracked. Demosthenes explains this further in stating, “Commuter Cash is tracked so if a student misplaces their card it’s okay! The Commuter Affairs staff will keep track of your points. As long as you attend the events, you don’t need to worry about it and can always get a new card.”
Although students are strongly encouraged to go to all events, the Commuter staff is aware of the fact that not everyone will be able to attend all events or programs because of work, classes, etc. However, there are still perks for those who cannot attend by simply attending a few larger events that will ensure major points. Thomas breaks down the point value for each card:
“Commuters will get 5 points for Commuter Conversations, and 10 for an educational or volunteer event.”
Commuter Cash proves to be a win-win scenario for not just students, but the COMA staff as well. With Commuter Conversations every other Thursday, noon to 1:30 pm, and constant events every week, students are able to easily rack up their commuter points.