By Nader Hussein
“There’s never an open parking spot on the main campus. You have to drive around for five minutes and maybe you’ll catch someone leaving.”
The sentiment expressed by junior Hunter Carmichael is one that is shared by many students on campus. In the fall of 2014, the Division of Student Engagement sent an email to the students denying the presence of a parking problem.
“An average of 167 parking spaces are available on main campus at any given time,” read the email. “About 100 of those 167 available spaces are in the parking garage at the Brandt Student Center.”
That information may have been accurate last year, but this year has seen the addition of a large freshman class of over 400 new students. Freshmen are allowed to have cars on campus, which means that the average of 167 available parking spaces is likely significantly lower.
In fact, some days there seems to be no available spaces outside of the Brandt Student Center (BSC). On a Wednesday at noon, there were no available spots at the red lots in front of Allen Dining Hall, Funkhouser/Gore dormitory, the lot below the hill adjacent to the University Inn and the outdoor lot by the Brandt Student Center (BSC).
Some professors and staff members have even expressed concern over the lack of available spaces in specific locations. Junior Eric Bateman, who works in the BSC and has a staff parking permit, brought up an issue that Shenandoah University employees are faced with.
“Because there is little student parking, some students park in staff lots. That means that we have less spots than we should,” said Bateman.
The email sent by the Division of Student Engagement also talks about the benefits of walking.
“Walking is good for you and the environment,” it says. “Burn a few calories. Enjoy our beautiful campus.”
There are obvious personal health and environmental benefits to walking, but with the weather getting colder and the imminent snowfall in the coming months some of those health benefits could be negated by risks. Extended exposure to cold weather can suppress your immune system making you more likely to get colds and the flu, and when snow gets frozen there is always a risk of slipping and sliding.
With enrollment at SU constantly increasing, it is yet to be seen if the school will acknowledge the need for more parking. Then again, they may just suggest parking at the Leesburg campus and walking to classes.