Home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Student Engagement

Commuter Orientation

Hello Commuters & Off-Campus Students! 

Let us be one of the first to welcome you to the Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) Family!  My name is Heather Horowitz and I am the Associate Director of Student Activities at Jefferson.  I have the pleasure of overseeing the Office of Commuter Services, so I hope to connect with many of you during START and over the first few weeks of the semester.  I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as well as speak to some of the different components of our office.  Whether it is welcoming new commuters to PhilaU, assisting students in finding off-campus housing and/or roommates, or continuing to build the commuter community, the Commuter Leaders and I are dedicated to serving the needs of commuting and off-campus students.  

A common early fear of commuting students (and their families) is that living off-campus is a disadvantage.  While commuting to campus may present some challenges, studies have indicated that students who have high interaction with their university's academic and social systems are more likely to persist in college.  What does this mean?  Students living off-campus, are just as likely to be engaged as residential students, and their engagement is positively related to college success.  Let us help you make the most of your PhilaU experience! 

Check out our initiatives exclusively offered to our 1st year/new transfer off-campus students:

  • Each student will be assigned a Commuter Leader (CL) according to the first letter of your last name.  A CL’s primary responsibility is to help introduce you to PhilaU and assist with your transition to college life.  Connect with your Commuter Leaders during their office hours, through email, and via Facebook.   CLs also plan events based on interest.  Past programs include rock climbing, imax movie trips, mocktail study session, quizzo night, and more!  
  • Earn Commuter Cash (C-Cash) for your involvement, grades, utilization of campus resources and participation in the campus community.  At the end of each semester, you can use your C-Cash to win prizes.  Past prizes include SEPTA tokens, an external hard drive, PhilaU Gear, Nintendo Wii, Xbox360, blu ray player, iPod touch, beats by Dre, TOMS, gift cards to local restaurants, and more.  We get prize ideas directly from YOU so be prepared to earn your C-Cash and share your ideas!
  • Enroll in our Commuter Connections Learning Community! Form networks and close friendships with students who share an interest in exploring ideas and life skills together, while navigating the challenge of commuting to college.  A first year course of study is paired with SERVE-101, a hybrid course with an innovative approach to promoting civic engagement.  Take class with other commuters in small sections reserved just for you with an upper- class mentor who also lives off-campus.  Perfect for those who appreciate the  academic advantages of belonging to an exceptionally close, caring community of peers and dedicated faculty who share a commitment to community service.  Complete this course in lieu of your PE requirement!  (Applications are available online.  Please disregard the deadline.  More details can be found HERE 
  • Network with other 1st year/transfer commuters at our Monthly Commuter Community Meetings facilitated by our amazing Commuter Leader staff.  Featured refreshments (and sometimes “homemade”) at each meeting!
  • Participate in our private Facebook group specifically for those in the 1st year/Transfer Commuter Community.  Search Incoming 2013-2014 1st Year/Transfer Commuters @ PhilaU to request an invite.  The group won’t be “hoppin” until the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join!
  • Join the Commuter Leaders for One on One sessions @ Ted’s Barista for a snack on us and chat about concerns, interests, or school.  Want to get more connected to campus?  … your major? Utilize your Commuter Leaders.  They’re pros! 
  • ALL commuters are invited to join the Association of Commuting Students (ACS).  ACS is a student-run organization that provides a forum for off-campus students to meet one another.  Meetings are every other Tuesday at 1:30pm in Kanbar 312.  Find us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PhilaUACS

The opportunities listed above are only a glimpse of what PhilaU has to offer.  Take advantage of them!  Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.  Best of luck and see you soon!



Heather Horrowitz

Heather Horowitz

Associate Director of Student Activities