Commuter Student Life Second Annual Winter Gala tickets available, proceeds to help homeless

Commuter Student Life will host its fanciest event of the year Feb. 21 from 7 to 10 p.m. — the second annual Winter Gala in the LaHaye Event Space. Commuter Student Life is holding the event to raise money through a raffle for Miriam’s House, a local charity that supports homeless families.

Gretchen Cline, assistant director of graduate student life, said the Winter Gala began last year.

“It was actually requested by the students,” Cline said. “We did a survey to find out what types of events they would be interested in. A large part of them wanted some sort of fancy event where they could attend and dress up (and) have dinner with their friends.”

One of the main purposes for the Winter Gala this year is to financially support Miriam’s House. Local businesses donated a variety of gift cards and packages to win through purchasing $1 raffle tickets.   

Logo provided

This year’s semi-formal gala will feature the Hill City Jazz Quartet, Drew Lafferty and His Swing Set and a business etiquette presentation by the Career Center. 

Associate Director of Commuter Student Life Christen Gery seeks to connect commuters with community to promote student retention.

 “You have a lot of resources available for you (on campus),” Gery said. “When you’re off campus, you’re at a higher (risk) for withdrawing because you don’t have those immediate resources. We help provide that for commuters.”

Commuter Student Life teamed up with LU Shepherd last semester to launch commuter community groups. When residential students choose to move off campus, Liberty provides the opportunity for them to still grow spiritually in a small-group environment. 

“We create opportunities for them to create community,” Gery said. “That could be an event like the Winter Gala that’s social, or it could be an event for professional development like Grad Connect, but our biggest feature is our lounge. It provides a home away from home for the commuters.”

The Commuter Lounge in Green Hall offers a coffee bar and kitchen in a cozy inviting room environment, giving commuter students a home base on campus. Commuter Student Life hosts a variety of events throughout the semester to strengthen the off-campus community, including Pancake Friday in the Commuter Lounge most Friday mornings. 

“Even if you can’t come to an event, just show up in the lounge and get a cup of coffee, and you will meet someone,” Cline said. 

During the fall, commuter football tailgates are their biggest push. Some upcoming events include a basketball tailgate Feb. 26, Doughnut Tuesdays in March and a commuter hike in April. They also promote events by Student Activities.

Photo Provided
LAST YEAR — 2018 saw the first Office of Commuter Student Life Gala.

Gery advised commuter students to become involved and intentional about finding community. 

“Be open to putting yourself out there for community,” Gery said. “You have to look for community as a commuter. It’s not just going to fall in your lap. … I would definitely point them to their Commuter Community Group, as well as all of our events. Really be intentional to create (community) and seek us to find ways to be intentional.”

To purchase tickets for the Winter Gala, students should email or follow the event link. For more information on Commuter Life and upcoming events, visit their Facebook page or website. Visit Liberty OSD or LU Shepherd  for information on commuter community groups.

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