By Andrea Ordonez Managing Editor
George Calvo, a commuter student from Farmingdale, N.Y. arrived to campus long before the morning rush. "It took me nine minutes because I left at 3 o'clock in the morning," he said. "Usually it takes me a half hour to get here, but not one car was on the road, and I hit every green light. The Hofstra sophomore came early as a volunteer, and ended up getting on morning shows for NBC, ABC and Fox.
The University continues to maintain a large commuter population, and 45 percent of the student body comes from the Long Island area. However, projected woes of road closures and parking did not appear to affect commuters that came early.
"They made it really easy for us," said Alan Alex, a freshman from Westbury, N.Y. "There are a lot of restrictions for everybody else. A lot of parking lots closed down...they sent out newsletters telling us where we could go and what times we could get on [campus], so it's a lot more facilitated for everyone else."
Anita Ellis, Director of Office of Off-Campus Living and Commuting Student Services, helped coordinate the newsletters sent to help commuting students come to campus on Debate Day. Walking through the Student Center before noon, she spotted at 25 to 30 of what she calls "traditional commuters," or students that do not live close to the outer perimeters of the University.
"We really made an attempt to make sure that they came back to enjoy the day," said Ellis. "For those that commute, they came early and they parked early. Some of the North Campus parking lots are crowded with 'C' parking stickers."
Anticipating clogged streets and tight parking, Alex planned to stay on campus for a short duration. "I originally thought I was going to stop by for an hour or two, but when I got here it was so exciting, so I'm going to be here for a really long time."
While the commuters that came early might not have struggled to get onto campus, they anticipate difficulty getting out later today and tonight.
Michelle Llanos, a junior student from Nassau County came to campus before noon to show her support for President Obama. But she plans to leave campus at 3 p.m. before road closures and watch the debate at home.
"They're supposed to close Hempstead Turnpike at that time anyway," she said. "If you want to stay longer, 3 p.m. is reasonable."
Calvo wants to go home after the debate, but doesn't know if he will be able to.
"I'm going to try and go home [after the debate] but that might not work out," he said. "I might wind up sleeping here in one of my friend's rooms...or the car."