Apr 28, 2009

Commuters learn off-campus survival skills

by Anthony Barone

In a perilous world filled with unexpected turns and trials, Liberty University has sought to prepare its students for the road ahead as hundreds of students filled North Campus on Saturday for Liberty’s first commuter seminar.

“This is the first year we had a sizable number of students to participate,” Director of Commuter Affairs Larry Provost said.

The required event, entitled “Real World,” gave students an inside look at off-campus living and what to expect in the next year.

“When I moved off campus, we did not have this,” senior Garrett Rockafellow said. “I wish I would have known about some (of the) things (they talked about).”

Topics covered a variety of subjects from finances to renting to roommates and parking.

The seminar was designed to help alleviate worry and answer students’ questions.

“The seminar has been very interesting and informational,” junior Alanna Jones said. “I had a lot of questions, and I would not have learned (the answers) otherwise.”

After a welcome from Provost, the seminar began with Attorney Jeremy White speaking on finding an apartment. White addressed concerns about rent, types of tenancies, duties of tenants, security deposits and eviction.

Provost invited Allstate Insurance Agent Tom Craven Jr. to discuss renter’s insurance, which gives tenants confidence that their valuables will be financially covered in case of a fire, lighting, explosion or other natural disaster.

“(Renter’s insurance) protects your stuff and your future,” Craven said. “It also provides you liability if you are to blame.”

Financial Advisor Jeff Boyer, along with Edward Jones Company, discussed financial management. Boyer addressed debt, budgeting and a blueprint for the future while a representative from Edward Jones gave a walk-through of a monthly budget sheet provided to students.

“The financial guy was great,” senior Hardus Prinsloo said.

For many off-campus students, meals are an expensive concern.

LU Dining Marketing Manager Elizabeth Van Wingerden gave an inside look at meal plans and the three “blocks” offered to commuters.

She explained that the Lynchburg city food tax rate is high and that by using meal points students do not pay the 11.5 percent.

Also, any time commuters or students use meal plan points, they save five percent on the cost of food.

In the “community relations” portion of the day, Cindy Kozerow gave tips for being a good neighbor and for overall safety in Lynchburg. She spoke about where students should not be living and gave a well-rounded view of the city.

“Pick a good neighborhood,” said LU Police Chief Hinkley
“Don’t live between 5th Street and 12th Street to Park Avenue.”
Director of Financial Research and Analysis Richard Martin gave a detailed view of the parking plans for the 2009-2010 school year.
“You have to plan time to get around,” Martin said.
He explained which parking plan might be the best fit for different students and the options that students have from $300 parking spots to free carpool parking.
Martin gave away a premium-parking pass for next year.
Finishing up the day was Associate Director of Student Care Jason Autry, who spoke about roommate relations, and Carrie Barnhouse from the Career Center, who informed students of the services the center has to offer.
The seminar also emphasized that students are still required to adhere to the Liberty Way while living off-campus. A copy of the Liberty Way was given to each student moving off.
At the end of the seminar, Director Provost came to the podium and reminded the assembled students of their impact.
“You’ll always be an ambassador for Liberty and Christ.” To appease students’ qualms on a beautiful, sunny, 90-degree day, the seminar provided food, bags and mugs to all involved.

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