Vanguard has lost around 100 parking spots due to the construction of the new Student Center, as well as the implementation of the new South Annex building, according to Tim Young, Vice President of Student Affairs. On-campus residents, commuter students and faculty have voiced complaints, and SGA is trying to find a solution.
“I feel like parking is very difficult because of the limited number of spots, especially for those who have classes during the day when the lot seems to be more full,” said junior and commuter Chase Barnhart.
The conversation has also not gone unnoticed by Young, who worked out a deal with the OC Fair and Event Center across from Vanguard. The Office of Student Affairs sent emails to commuter students offering an alternative parking option at the OC Fair and Event Center.
The pass is valid Mondays through Thursdays between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.. Those with the passes are allowed to park on campus on Fridays and after 6:30 p.m. the other weekdays.
Seventy-two passes went to faculty members first before the passes were also offered to commuters. Young said students were considered for the pass first, but after realizing commuters aren’t on campus every day, they decided to give the passes out to faculty in order to maximize the pressure relieved from campus. Young worked closely with Commuter Life to choose which commuters would receive passes.
“It was a student-centered approach, trying to maximize space for current students,” Young said.
The parking at the OC Fairgrounds seems to have had a positive effect for many, but it has not solved parking problems for every student.
“It helps [me] now because there’s unlimited spots, but the rest of my roommates don’t have it, so it’s hard for them,” said Barnhart, who has one of Fairground passes.
SGA President Chris Moore and his Board of Executives have recently been gauging student satisfaction regarding parking through two outlets of gathering data: conducting a survey of student responses as well as garnering student reactions face to face.
“From what it looks like, there’s been a lot of concerns about parking on campus, and students are not very happy with the current parking situation,” Moore said. “We wanted to put out the survey because for SGA, our mission and our goal is to find out and discover those issues, and to hopefully come to a solution.”
The results of Moore’s survey revealed many disgruntled voices, including concern with added time in getting to class. Moore plans to present the collected data to administration in the near future.
“We recognize this is an issue for a lot of students, and because of that we want to take that and dive deeper into that and that way we can hopefully help students out with this problem,” Moore said.
Both Moore and Young are continuing to brainstorm possible solutions, including giving out more passes for the OC Fairgrounds and offering day passes to park at Vanguard Center and walk over to campus.
Moore is optimistic when it comes to finding a solution for students’ parking troubles.
“I can guarantee you guys that we are realizing the issue—it’s an issue for myself, it’s an issue for everyone on the executive board, so we feel that pain and we feel the hunger and the desire to come to a solution,” Moore said. “Hopefully through the survey and through the responses, we can come to that.”