CUNY colleges are known nationally for offering New York City students with a quality education at an affordable price, but something its well known for is the inability to foster a sense of community among students.
Being that CUNY colleges are primarily commuter schools, it can be hard to get students involved in campus life.
This is not due to the schools’ lack of effort however, since many students come in for class and then just catch the train or bus
back home to do homework or study.
This is especially true for Manhattan-based CUNY colleges, such as Baruch College, where
students worry more about their long commute back to their home boroughs and counties than they do about what a random club is doing.
It’s not that CUNY doesn’t try — that’s the whole point of club hours, which are offered at Baruch and City College, and likely other schools as well.
The dorms for many CUNY colleges hold events as well and at Baruch, attending campus events and clubs are mandatory to pass First Year Seminar.
Department and office-organized events are promoted through emails and social media posts and flyers, so low turnout can’t be a result of lack of awareness of these events.
At one point, it’s worth asking what more can students do themselves to foster a greater sense of community at their schools
than what the administration can do.
A great example of students themselves creating some form of togetherness among students at Baruch was the “Overheard Baruch” Instagram account.
The account was doing well, just as most accounts making fun of schools do, but it blew up once the owner of the account started a match-making service on the account — one that sometimes actually resulted in a couple.
“Overheard Baruch” had gotten so popular that The Ticker even wrote an article on it, and
people were talking about the account for a few days.
It brought people together, without the help of CUNY directly or the club hours.
All it needed was the interest of the students for success.
CUNY and the individual colleges can make all the events they want, the Baruch Undergraduate Student Governments can approve all the club budgets and events they want, but nothing will bring students together unless they want it to.
“Baruch Confessions” and “CUNY Confessions” on social media also work to create a virtual sense of community, though they haven’t seemed to garner the excitement that “Overheard Baruch” did with its dating service, but they too can only operate if there’s a demand for its posts.
If students want a greater sense of community or togetherness, they need to voice that desire more .
They need to take it into their own hands in order to make this happen.