Commuter students find rest, study spaces on UCLA campus

The University of California, Los Angeles is working to meet the needs of commuter students by creating on-campus spaces that allow them to wait out traffic, store their belongings, rest, and study in between classes, the Los Angeles Times reports.  

“Naturally disadvantaged academically by their commute, they don’t have enough time in their days to sleep, study, or get together with their study groups,” Dana Cuff, a professor of architecture and urban design at UCLA, said at a recent UC Regents meeting, according to the Times.

BruinHubs, which first opened in 2021, contain study tables, charging stations, a microwave, a refrigerator, and individualized pods students can use for rest or study. It is available nearly all hours of the day, from 5:15 a.m. to 1 a.m. The pods are curtained to maintain privacy while students sleep or prepare for class. A second hub was opened in 2023 in UCLA’s Strathmore Building, which houses the university’s Basic Needs Center. Students also have access to restrooms, water stations, and showers. 

Related: Federal study highlights food, housing insecurity among college students >

Creating resources for commuter students

Finding affordable housing near campus has been a persistent problem for UCLA students. Almost half of UCLA’s undergraduate students and a majority of its graduate students live in off-campus housing, with 43% taking over an hour to commute to campus. The hubs don’t directly address the university’s housing crunch, but they expand the university’s resources for commuter students who previously felt they had limited study, rest, and work spaces on campus. 

To further meet the needs of commuter students, advocates are also calling for additional online classes with priority registration for commuter students and more flexible in-person attendance policies, particularly when bad weather makes travel difficult.

Students must apply each academic quarter to become “BruinHub passholders” in order to use the spaces. UCLA is planning to build more hubs in its libraries, a new 11-story building in downtown Los Angeles, and at its satellite campus at Rancho Palos Verdes.

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