It’s 12:48 on a Monday. You have 12 minutes to get to class. You’re returning to campus after a tedious morning at work, a quick run for lunch, or a long commute in from home.
You frantically circle your way through the more prime parking spaces, the seconds tick away, until you’re finally able to squeeze into a compact spot out past NMC. You have only minutes to spare to gather your things and make your way back across campus for your exam in the Grad Psych building.
If you have ever attempted to find parking on campus during the peak hours of the day, it’s likely you’re familiar with this horror story.
Complaints about the parking situation on campus aren’t new to any of us; whether it’s paying for our passes, getting ticketed, or the construction, there always seems to be some sort of issue between students and parking regulations.
Maybe we don’t have to pay as much as the average big state school for our parking pass, but we aren’t a big school. Compared to other private Christian schools, such as Biola, who charges $120 a semester, Vanguard is competitively priced in parking.
But, if we are paying for a parking spot at our small little college, it would make sense to find one.
I get that big schools have much less concern for and availability of parking, but we aren’t a big school. We’re just our little Vanguard community.
In the past, parking hasn’t been absolutely horrendous, with that far-off row of spaces in the back lot near Catalina usually available to those living in the dorms. However, now more and more residents are required to park across campus just to go to their rooms.
It may be unrealistic to ask Vanguard to expand parking per say–though we do have an abnormal amount of planters on campus–because the fact is, we just aren’t going to get a parking structure.
So how do we alleviate the parking struggle in an easy, cost-efficient way?
It’s simple. We institute a more vetted process for who is allowed cars on campus.
It’s quite common for colleges to limit car access for freshmen, and honestly, it’s about time Vanguard followed suit.
Our own neighbor, Concordia University, prohibits cars for all freshmen unless there is a pressing need, which has been the policy for several years without issue.
And this isn’t just needlessly picking on freshman to make other students’ lives easier: last semester, Vanguard’s freshmen class topped the remaining three by over 100 students, with a grand total of 474. Sophomore, junior, and senior levels all varied between 320 to 350 students, according to the Office of the Provost.
I am not proposing a class-wide ban forbidding all freshmen from owning cars, as is with Concordia. Instead, freshmen simply must petition to have a car on campus. Reasons such as driving in from out state, an off-campus job, or otherwise on a first-come, first-served basis would be practical ways to alleviate the issue.
Though other alternatives exist, nearly all of them involve higher costs for the university and, ultimately, the student body. Therefore, the simplest and most effective way to reduce the strain on parking availability is reduce the amount of passes given to underclassmen who have no pressing need for a car.
Even though issuing less parking passes means less revenue for Campus Safety and for “upkeep costs,” the overall outcome is much more beneficial to our school. After all, how are we supposed to have a community if no one can park there?