Art by HeeJoo Roh
As a car-less student at Pepperdine, it can feel like I am stuck on campus. If you are facing a similar situation, don’t give up hope yet — I’ve found there are many benefits to living on campus without owning a vehicle.
As I navigate my first semester at Pepperdine, I’ve found countless opportunities to build relationships, tap into on-campus resources and cultivate overall wellness. Living on campus without a car has allowed me to use my time to build friendships and become part of a community.
I find community through spending more time on campus, and one of the most essential parts of maintaining mental health is finding belonging in a community, according to NAMI. Staying on campus gives me plenty of opportunities to connect with others, and by cutting out a commute, I have more time to invest in people and activities I am passionate about.
Without having to leave campus, one can find numerous clubs, organizations and events on Peppervine. There are also many student-led ministries that help foster spiritual growth, including Word Up, Celebration Chapel and Veritas Club.
Pepperdine also offers student leadership opportunities, such as the Student Government Association, Student Programming Board and Inter-Club Council. If a student is interested in getting involved, they can attend an event for the club or ask club leaders if they’re currently open to new members. Instead of searching for activities off campus, students can check out available resources right on main campus.
All of these activities and resources are conveniently located on main campus and students can access them by foot between classes.
“Knowledge calls ultimately for a life of service,” is a key part of Pepperdine’s mission statement. Campus-wide opportunities to serve include past events like Step Forward Day or the American Red Cross Blood Drive.
To see current opportunities, Pepperdine provides a Google doc. These events show one can absolutely serve their community without the need to drive off campus.
Pepperdine offers several different options for transportation for those without a personal car, including shuttles around campus, rental services through Zipcar, Lyft ride discounts and shopping shuttles to Whole Foods, Cross Creek and Ralph’s. These options motivate some students, like me, to plan outings carefully and use their time wisely instead of having constant off-campus distractions.
Students can make use of these resources to travel more substantial distances. For many, walking can be a good mode of transportation on and off campus, especially for a shorter commute. Local shops like the Malibu Country Mart and Ralph’s plaza are within walking distance and students can avoid parking issues.
Not only is this option environmentally friendly, walking provides an opportunity for students who are able to walk and who have packed schedules and limited time to exercise. Walking around campus gives students a chance to enjoy nature, breathe fresh air and bask in the sun. It’s refreshing to stretch your legs after sitting through lectures all day or between classes.
If students really want to take advantage of the surrounding scenery, there are many hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains, including the iconic Hike to the Cross, which is in walking distance from campus. Pepperdine’s Outdoor Recreation also organizes excursions and weekend trips to explore nature with your Pepperdine family, according to their website.
Pepperdine is home to four fitness facilities on campus and offers free fitness classes throughout the week, according to Pepperdine’s Fitness and Wellness. For students interested in playing sports, intramurals and club sports are great options. Getting active is an excellent way to spend your free time without having to drive anywhere.
As a first-year student at Pepperdine, I’m thankful for an all-inclusive living situation. I have a place to sleep, three meals I don’t have to cook myself and an on-campus job. For study options, I can choose between Payson Library, the Lighthouse, outside on Alumni Park or in the comfort of my dorm.
Students have access to many resources to support those who do not have a car, and I encourage others to search for something that works for them. Living on campus without a car has motivated me to be resourceful and investigate the many services available to me as a student.
This mindset has allowed me to find contentment in my current circumstances instead of pining after what I don’t have. While there are times I might long to have my own car, I have realized over the past month that I’ve come to appreciate what I do have much more.
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