By Tom Ballard
Freshmen are stranded here at the College. The sad truth is that the vast majority of residential freshman students, like myself, are barred from being allowed to park a car on campus. This not only causes an entire quarter of the student body to be independently immobile, but also keeps freshman students from connecting with the surrounding non-College community.
As a person, I wanted to go away to college in order to get a new experience. I wanted to be challenged academically with college-level courses and I wanted to grow as a more independent person while being away from Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, the College’s policy keeping freshman students from being allowed to have a car on campus keeps me away from gaining some of that independence. I am confined to the College’s campus, and while it is an absolutely lovely campus, my lack of having my car on campus keeps me from visiting local community attractions or going to stores to pick up needed supplies and groceries. As a result, I end up ordering any needed items on my Amazon Prime account and waiting for the two days delivery to avoid the arguably costly items in the College’s bookstore or the C-Store.
Furthermore, the lack of freshmen having cars exile us from the surrounding Ewing community. Most freshmen, who are not originally from the Ewing area, stay on campus simply because it becomes too difficult to haggle an upperclassman to continue giving rides and because of the irregular schedule of the Loop Bus, which aims to help students get away from campus. By not truly being able to see the surrounding community, freshman students are left to feel ignorant about the area in which they live, keeping them from cementing bonds with their community. A Signal article from Feb. 11, 2014 shows the struggle that members of the Ewing community have when College students move into houses in the suburban community surrounding the College. Perhaps by allowing freshman students to have cars on campus, it might allow them to become better connected with the Ewing community, enhancing the ties that College students have with the community.
Some may make the argument that a lack of parking and a fear that freshman students might always leave the campus without becoming better connected with the College community are good reasons to prevent freshman students from being allowed to park cars on campus. I would make the argument, however, that neither concern should keep the College from expanding parking rights to freshman students. The College can always expand parking space. By increasing the space for parking to grant freshmen the ability to park on campus, the College will surely make back any cost in construction by collecting the additional semesterly parking permit fees. Moreover, students who came to the College in order to have the “college experience” would still be on campus enough in order to be engaged members of the student body and the College should not be afraid of first-year students constantly going home in order to avoid the transition in becoming a college student.
Freshman students at the College should be afforded the opportunity to have a car on campus if they so choose. The small number of weekly parking permits for which the College is willing to allow students to pay is not enough to have us be engaged with the surrounding community, nor does it allow us to have the means the pick up supplies from local stores when we as residential students need to pick up supplies in order to survive the harmonic chaos that is college life. It is time that the College considers allowing residential freshmen the chance to take back their freedom and learn to become independent adults while away at college.
Students share opinions around campus
Let freshmen have cars?
“Yeah… I think that sometimes students need to get off campus and its hard to rely on the Loop Bus.”
“Yeah definitely… some people have part-time jobs they have to get to.”