Commuter assistants adjust to new changes, leadership

Krystal Ortiz, News Editor

Commuter Assistants from the division of Off-Campus and Commuter Services are responsible for making first-year students transition to college smoother and helping them get involved in campus organizations. This role has been altered with the new remote conditions.  


Commuter Assistants are assigned a cohort of first-year commuter students at the start of the academic year. They are responsible for outreaching and engaging their cohort, making sure that the students feel welcomed at Iona and know the resources the campus offers, according to the  Director of Student Development Melissa Aponte.  


As a CA, it is our role to help lessen the stress that transition from high school to college that freshmen often experience,” sophomore Commuter Assistant Maria Foley saidAlong with that it is our job to help freshmen get more involved on campus and make them feel like they have a home within Iona. 


The student leaders are adapting to the new circumstances by following social distancing guidelines when meeting with their assigned commuter students on campusaccording to Foley. 


Commuter Assistants will also have to cater to remote students.  


For remote students, we are trying to schedule times to call them and create Zoom meetings in order to try and get to know them as well as help them get a sense of community even though they can’t physically be on campus,” Foley saidOur biggest goal is to make everyone get involved on campus even though we are in unusual circumstances. 


Commuter assistants have always received support from different offices on campus, which helps them stay informed and relay information back to their first-year commuter students.  


Each CA maintains regular communication with a campus office or department, such as Athletics or the Rudin Center,” junior commuter assistant Christina Marasevic said.These offices share information and events with us so that we can forward the information through our weekly emails. 


Aponte oversees the Commuter Assistant program. This signifies that she trains and supervises the Commuter Assistants, has access to important information that could help their cohorts become acclimated to Iona, helps the Commuter Assistants develop as student leaders and provides them the tools they need to be successful at their job. 


The Commuter Assistant program was previously led by Dr. Michele Sampson, former assistant vice provost for Student ServicesAponte plans to execute the program while considering what could be added in the future.  


I am so lucky to take on a program that has been so successful and had great leadership under Dr. Sampson,” Aponte said.  So, I plan to continue much of the program functions as they were and observe how it goes this semester. 


Aponte is excited to see how the Commuter Assistants can flourish under new leadership and with new access to resources.  


One area I am excited to explore is the leadership development of our amazing CAs,” Aponte said. I see great potential in further developing their leadership skills so that they flourish in whatever roles they take on after serving in this capacity.  Additionally, I see great opportunity in helping our CAs promote Iona College activities and programs more easily since they will be under the auspice of the Office of Student Development.