What Do We Do?
The primary goal of Off-Campus Student Services is to offer ongoing services, programs, academic and social support, and educational opportunities to help off-campus students successfully navigate UMBC and life after college.
Now located in the Commons Building Room 1A02, OCSS is a main fixture in the Main Street Lounge (unofficially dubbed the “Commuter Lounge”). We have six main services that we provide:
- Advocacy and Education – We advocate for the inclusion of commuters, transfers, and veterans in University life and educate students on developmental topics related to these populations.
- Commuter Connection – We provide an outreach program for students who commute to campus, including connecting them to on and off-campus resources.
- Transfer Student Network – We host a mentoring and social program connecting transfer students to one another and to resources.
- Vets2Vets – We work with students on an outreach program for veterans of the US military, providing a social and academic connection for these students.
- Transportation – We sell Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) bus passes at a discounted rate for UMBC students and also provide help with getting to campus using public transportation.
- Off-Campus Housing – We provide housing listings for students living off-campus, as well as roommate-matching services and education on appropriate off-campus behavior.
How We Were Established
In October 2001, the office of Commuter Student Services (formerly, a University Center service unit) was established as a department in the Division of Student Affairs. In January 2002, the name of Commuter Services was officially changed to “Off-Campus Student Services” (OCSS). The name “Off-Campus Student Services” reflects our broader educational goals for the department and encompasses a growing population of students that we serve, including commuters and transfers.
With a broader population of students to serve, our staff soon expanded as OCSS went on to hire an administrative assistant, department coordinator, graduate assistants and a group of paraprofessional student staff (commuter assistants). Today, our staff has grown to include a director and assistant director in addition to those original staff.
1987 – The Good Morning Commuters program, a long-standing program that started in the University Center under Commuter Student Services, followed OCSS to the Commons. Now, serving breakfast to commuters for over two decades, this program remains one of our most popular events for commuters.
2005 – The Commuter Connection and Transfer Student Network were established as Commuter Assistant-organized programs for commuters and transfers.
2007 – Tau Sigma National Honor Society for Transfer Students is founded at UMBC. It is the first honor society dedicated to transfer students to be founded in the state of Maryland.
2010 – The Vets 2 Vets program began offering services and support to student veterans.