Commuter Student Resources
Commuter Students are invited to utilize ALL campus resources. The following are resources specific to commuter students and their needs.
Commuter Students and Carpool Parking passes are available through Campus Safety.
PLU offers an Orca Card subsidy for Commuter Students who live off campus and use transit 3+ times a week.
Campus Safety provides walking and shuttle escorts to areas within campus and specified radius surrounding campus. Call ahead (253-535-7441) for their availability and estimated time of arrival.
All students who live off campus are members of The CAVE Lounge community.
- The CAVE is a community for first and second year commuter students.
As a member of these communities you will receive a bi-monthly newsletter, invitations participate in community programming, and direct access to Community Advocates as peer resources.
First Year Linked Learning Communities
Learning Communities (LCs) are a valuable part of the PLU experience, adding to the learning that happens in the classroom and beyond.
All first-year students who enroll in a First Year Experience Program (FYEP) Writing 101 course will be linked through that course to a Learning Community (LC). LC linked courses provide opportunities to connect with community both inside and outside of the classroom, through co-curricular opportunities throughout the first year. Students who participate in LC linked courses have increased community and academic support to promote success in their first year at PLU! Additionally, residential students experience a further connection between their LC linked course and the theme of their residence hall. By participating in LC linked courses, your classmates become your neighbors.
Learning Communities are for all PLU students. At PLU, every residential student (including first-year, new transfer, returning, and upper division) is part of an LC, by year at PLU and/or by theme. Additionally, first-year commuting students participate in LCs via their enrollment in FYEP 101 linked courses; after their first semester, returning commuting students (and New Transfer commuting students) are invited to continue (or begin) participation in LCs through co-curricular opportunities that are offered every year.
To learn more about the specific LCs at PLU, visit the Learning Communities website and view the section of LCs themed by identity/interest or LCs themed by year at PLU.
Eating in the Commons is a big part of the PLU culture and a great way connect with the PLU community. We recommend that Commuter Students consider purchasing a meal plan, dining dollars, and/or LuteBuck$.
Dinning Dollars can only be used to purchase food and they are tax free! Dining dollars are available to use at all campus restaurant locations. Don’t worry about losing Dining Dollars during the academic year because they carry over from term to term and do not expire until the last day of the spring term. Visit the Dining Dollars site to learn more about them.
Meal Plan “E” This meal plan is designed for students residing in Stuen Hall, South Hall or off-campus/commuters. Having a meal plan makes it easy to nurture connections on campus and socialize with friends. Being a student is complicated — don’t worry about your student’s next meal, we have a variety of healthy options waiting. Visit the meal plan description site to see the full details. Here is the quick link to learn how to add money to your meal plan – PLU Campus Restaurants.
|SEMESTER||DINING DOLLARS||OVERHEAD COST||SEMESTER COST|
LuteBucks Add LuteBucks to your account and turn your LuteCard into a convenient on-campus debit card. Add as many dollars as you’d like and these may be used for copying/printing, at all campus restaurants and the Lute Locker. LuteBucks stay with you throughout your time at PLU and are refunded upon withdrawal from the university. LuteBucks can be added in person at OMM or online on the GET APP. Learn more here.
Commuter Students interested in on campus jobs and leadership positions are invited and encouraged to apply to all positions on the Career Opportunities Board. While all on campus positions welcome and value the skills and talents of all students, the following student leadership positions seek experience in commuting to PLU and/or an interest in working with commuter students:
- CAVE Community Advocates are community builders committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive campus for commuter and transfer students through programing, one-on-one connections, and advocacy through their involvement in The CAVE.
- ASPLU Off Campus Senator (1) – In addition to being able to serve in ASPLU Senator roles through their class year and the at large capacity, students must live off campus to serve as the Off Campus Senator.
Commuter Student who are less than 20 years of age or who have less than Junior Status (60 semester hours) on or before September 1 are permitted to live off campus with completion of the following required documentation:
- Students living at home with parent within 25 driving miles of PLU must submit a notarized Confirmation of Living at Home Form (COLAH).
- Students living with a spouse must submit a certified copy of their marriage license and those students living with a child must present a certified birth certificate for the dependent child.
For more questions visit the Department of Residence Life’s required documents page at: https://www.plu.edu/residential-life/life-on-campus/required-documentation/
Did you know that PLU has its very own store where you can buy (or donate) lightly used clothing, household items, furniture, and electronics for incredibly low prices? SurPLUs is dedicated to helping keep items out of the landfill and helping you clean out your closet, furnish your new apartment, or find the perfect outfit for your job interview. You can donate items in boxes in residence halls around campus or by bringing them directly to the SurPLUs store in Waste Diversion and you can shop at the SurPLUs store on Tuesdays from 10-2:30 and Thursdays from 12:15-2:45 or by appointment. SurPLUs is a cash only business so don’t forget to stop at the ATM before heading over! Find out more about SurPLUs here
Almost a quarter of Americans have no dental insurance, and more than a third have not been to the dentist in the past year, many of them because of the costs associated with going. If you’re someone who puts off going to the dentist because of the cost, you will be happy to hear that Pierce College has a reduced cost dental hygiene clinic that offers x-rays, cleanings, and fillings. They also offer discounts for veterans. To learn more about Pierce College’s dental hygiene clinic click here.And click here for a fun bonus video about James the Dirty Tooth from comedian Katherine Ryan.
Springtime means fresh seasonal produce is popping back up and our local farmers markets are starting once again for the new season! You can pick up your weekly produce, support local farmers and artisans, and take in the fresh air and spring flowers, all in one stop! And, if you are an eligible SNAP/EBT shopper, the Market Match program offers an unlimited 1:1 match on qualifying products. To learn more about the Pierce County Farmers Markets click here and to learn more about the Market Match program click here.
Tacoma Rescue Mission is a local organization that provides emergency shelter for those experiencing houselessness, addiction and mental health services, daily meals for the community, veterans and youth services. They also have a clothing room where clothes and other essentials are available for those in need. If you don’t need their services but are interested in giving back, Tacoma Rescue Mission offers opportunities for volunteering and internships, and accepts donations in kind of clothing, food, school supplies, toys, and many other vital necessities. Click here to find out more about Tacoma Rescue Mission and click here for more information about TRM’s current needs.
Food is Free Tacoma is a local organization that aims to reduce food insecurity and food waste throughout the Tacoma region. Individuals set up tables in their yards with non-perishables and produce, and they have volunteer run community gardens where you can pick up fresh produce or help tend the garden! For more information check out Food is Free Tacoma’s website here.
While it’s a bit further from campus than the resources we usually like to highlight here, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle is now open at limited capacity and is definitely worth the trek! Your visit includes a guided tour, which adds a lot of nuance and context to everything you get to see in the museum. For more information you can visit the Wing Luke Museum website here, admission is $12.50 with your student ID. If you are a Seattle resident you can check out a museum pass from the Seattle Public Library. If you are unable or don’t feel comfortable heading to the museum in person, they also offer virtual tours on Thursdays for $11!
As more groups are becoming eligible for the COVID vaccine, you might have questions about where and when you will be able to get vaccinated. The Washington State Department of Health has a webpage dedicated to all things vaccine related (find that here) You can also use the Phase Finder tool accessible here to determine whether or not you are eligible to be vaccinated now and to sign up for notifications when you become eligible. Finally, you can use the vaccine locator tool here to find out where the vaccine is available in your area and make an appointment to get vaccinated.
Tax season is upon us! Did you know that you can pick up most tax forms and instructions and schedule a print pick-up appointment for less common forms at your local public library? To file your taxes online for free with help from IRS certified volunteers visit getyourrefund.org or myfreetaxes.com (for households with incomes up to $66,000). For more help or information visit the Pierce County Public Library’s tax page here. Don’t forget to file by Thursday, April 15th!
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Try and establish some sort of sleep schedule. It can be really easy to stop a routine during a stressful time, like the end of a semester, but putting together a plan that’s manageable for your current situation can help a lot. If you can’t sleep, staying in bed is still helpful for your body, and taking a short break from your bed every 15-30 minutes can help with falling asleep. The most important idea here is that it needs to be realistic for you. Work with what routines you have and try to improve them incrementally and over time.
Incorporate something enjoyable and relaxing into your schedule. This could be a walk, video games, reading, anything. This is important whether or not you have things to do and whether or not you’ve been working. This activity should be stress free and actively enjoyable, not just relaxing. I’ve often found that when, for instance, an essay is stressing me out, I’ll mentally exhaust myself while staring at a screen or watching a video trying to distract myself. Taking a break and giving myself permission to not think about the task and enjoy something for a short while can be the key to allowing my brain to relax enough to start work.
Rooting and routine look different for everyone. Pick what works best for you. Some people do their best when they use a planner or bullet journal and plan out their days and keep track of their habits. Some people do better with a few key structures and everything else a bit less defined. I personally can’t follow detailed schedules, but I do have a detailed G-Cal and about three different visible lists of things to do around my workspace that I can’t see (or can’t see easily) from the spaces where I typically relax. Experiment with what works for you, and throw out what doesn’t.
Find a few recipes that are relatively quick and easy to make from shelf-stable ingredients or staples that you always have on hand. Frozen meals and take out can be great, but they can get expensive, so it’s nice to have a few go-tos for the nights when you don’t want to prepare a full meal. Whether it’s spaghetti, beans and rice, or a family recipe, knowing you always have something to fall back on is a big relief. Keep some frozen, steam-in-bag vegetables in the freezer to add to a carb based meal to make sure you’re getting some nutrition in there, too!
Make some sort of self-care and relaxing practice part of your daily routine. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of school and work and all of your other life responsibilities, but taking care of yourself is just as important as all that! Try a meditation app like Insight Timer (available on the Apple Store and Google Play) or check out a grounding yoga practice like this Yoga with Adriene video: https://youtu.be/0pbuvhbg7po If neither of those is your style, take a bath, go for a jog, or give yourself a pedicure!
Be proactive about getting your work done ahead of time and take advantage of the resources available through Academic Assistance! You probably already know about the Tutoring Center (find a link to the Tutoring Center here) and the Writing Center (find a link to the Writing Center here) but did you know that we also have a Language Resource Center? You can find a link to the LRC here. And remember: you don’t have to be struggling to seek academic assistance; these resources are for everyone and anyone can benefit from them!
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Set aside some time to relax. The amount of time, the way you use it, and how you disperse your free time throughout the day or week can be completely up to you. Some people might do best when they set aside an entire work-free day and work hard throughout the rest of the week, whereas others might want smaller breaks throughout a day or a larger break at the beginning, middle, or end of the day.
Find a relaxing on-campus or off-campus extracurricular activity or two to enjoy. If you’re hesitant because of your busy schedule, find some activities that don’t demand constant engagement and attendance. This could mean a club, or a group walk, or anything else.
Keep some of your favorite snacks or foods on hand. You deserve to eat food you enjoy, and doing so can take care of your mental health just as much as your physical health. Eating with others can also be an incredibly positive experience. Eating with a friend in a socially distanced setting outside could be a great option, or try eating with loved ones on a video call.
Now that the weather is starting to get nice again, take the opportunity to appreciate the sunshine! While we can’t really avoid being on screens for class, it doesn’t mean you have to be cooped up inside the whole time! If you have a wireless internet connection take advantage and head outside for class!
If you are having a hard time motivating yourself to do all of your spring cleaning, focus on doing one task when you have a limited amount of time (like on breaks between classes) so there is a time limit on how long you can devote to the task and it doesn’t feel overwhelming! For some great spring cleaning tips, click here
Do you feel like you’re always scrambling to complete your work the night before it’s due leaving you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? At the beginning of each week plan out your workload for the week ahead and split it up into bite sized chunks of work that you can work on throughout the week to save yourself a headache later on
Feel free to reward yourself for meeting goals! Whether that goal is getting caught up in a class or getting ahead in your homework, or even if your goal is showing up to class at all, set a reward for yourself. You did something that took effort to complete. I sometimes reward myself with coffee from a favorite place, or extra time playing a favorite game.
Put together group chats and video calls with the people you care for and have healthy relationships with. This could be friends or family or peers. While meeting up in person is nice, it isn’t always possible. Fortunately, we can still spend time with our loved ones even if that time isn’t in person.
Exercise can be a really helpful tool for many to help feel renewed and rejuvenated. Of course, everyone has a different relationship and experience with exercise, but doing something as simple as a walk or as complicated as a YouTube workout routine could be helpful, depending on each person’s situation.
Did you know that several departments are coordinating on campus walks? If you live on or near campus it’s a great way to get some fresh air and exercise and socialize with your classmates and friends in a safe and socially distant manner! Click here to find the schedule of walks organized by Campus Ministry and click here to find the schedule of NatSci Strolls
Summer internships are a great way to get experience and learn about your chosen field and to fill out your resume. If you’re not sure where to start or what kind of opportunities might be available to you check out the internships page here or schedule an appointment to meet with Alumni and Student Connections!
If you’re looking for a socially distant way to spend time with friends, plan study dates over Google Hangouts where you and a friend/group of friends can work concurrently. If you’re in the same classes you can discuss your readings or quiz each other on the material, but if not you can just enjoy each other’s company!