Downtown students express opinions on commute, student life

Guissel Mora, Staff Writer

UTSA’s Downtown Campus is developing rapidly, evident in the recent completion of the San Pedro I building, home of the School of Data Science, expected to be in use by Spring 2023, as mentioned in UTSA Today. In addition, the Downtown Campus is home to many colleges, such as the Kleese College of Engineering and Integrated Design (CEID), the College for Health, Community and Policy (HCAP), the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning. It also serves as the foundation of many buildings like the Small Business Development Center and the Institute of Economic Development. With such development and the fall semester in full swing, students shed light on life at the Downtown Campus.

Many students commute from UTSA’s main campus to the downtown campus; among them is junior Frankie Rodriguez, who “only makes the drive downtown for classes.”

“I know there’s a bus, but I have no clue how that system works,” Rodriguez said.

 On the other hand, freshman Karissa Betancourt utilizes the VIA bus and U-Pass provided by UTSA.

“[The VIA bus] is great because I don’t have to pay anything. All I did was download the VIA [goMobile+] app. I signed up with my UTSA email, so all you have to do is activate it and show it to your bus driver,” Betancourt said. 

Senior Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students LT Robinson was asked how traveling from one campus to the other can be made more manageable for students. 

“I think that is part of the rest of the planning for further expansion of the Downtown Campus — looking at the current bus routes and looking at an increase of that. I know that Campus Services are discussing that in more detail, and I think they’re great partners to share more information about their planning for what that looks like for the future. As the campus grows, there will be more opportunities for some of that additional activity,” Robinson said.

Aside from the commute, many students voiced their thoughts about resources, events and organizations they have seen around campus or are involved in. 

“The Advising Center creates a very open environment and is helpful in terms of our major since [the] majority of us are criminal justice majors or minors,” freshman Anahi Ramos said.

 Sophomore Sheng Martinez, also majoring in criminology and criminal justice, added that she enjoys “how helpful and caring the professors are.”

“I don’t know if it’s because of my major, but I feel like they are there to help you grow and offer a lot of resources and are just very easy to talk to … I guess because it’s the same people every day, it’s a tighter community,” Martinez said.

Robinson’s goal is to provide students with a vibrant campus life experience.

“We definitely want all our students to have a similar feeling; I would say that if you spoke to some of the students here, they’d say the same about their relationship with the Main Campus, [the relationship] they have with faculty and staff … I think that’s what makes UTSA, in general, a unique place because it is smaller, and community members connect with each other a bit more. That’s what makes UTSA so special, regardless of which campus we’re doing that at,” Robinson said.

Despite commuting, freshman Ariana Corpuz provides an example of the aforementioned goals Robinson wants to meet. 

Corpuz states, “[the] campus pretty much provides everything you need…the library, food and the gym.”