When first-year students prepare to move into their new home at Shenandoah University, they are given the option that many other colleges do not provide: bringing a personal vehicle with them. The freshman parking pass is provided at $120 for the entire academic year.
Many students say they are excited to have access to their vehicles; however, the distance from the freshman garage to campus was not mentioned prior to students’ arrival on campus.
“I think it’s bulls**t,” said current Shenandoah freshman Nicholas Rich. “We need access to our cars just as much as the upperclassmen do. There is no reason that we should have rights to our vehicles restricted just because we’re younger. I mean, all in all, we’re the ones also paying for room and board here.”
Other students were also asked about their opinions on the topic.
“I feel like it’s too far away,” said Gabrielle Izzett, an exercise science major. “The winter months are too brutal for us to be walking half a mile to get in our cars.” When asked about the numerous empty lots spread out across campus, she said: “I feel like there are certain lots that freshmen should have access to. I feel like a lot of students have become unmotivated to walk across campus to their cars, leading them to live an unhealthy lifestyle.”
Out of the 10 students interviewed, eight students said they had seen their car either once or no times since arriving on campus.
“I normally just carpool with other people when they hit up the grocery store,” Jaden Hughes said. “If they’re gonna go anyways, I’ll see if they can take me. No need for me to walk to my car in this cold weather if someone else can do it for me. I know that sounds messed up, but I’ve just gotten so unmotivated to walk all of the way across campus.”
The Director of Physical Plant, Barry Schnoor, was emailed about why the parking garage was built in its current location.
“When looking at locations for the parking garage, we looked at a number of factors … proximity to campus, traffic patterns, and the potential future use of the space where this garage would go,” Schnoor said. “The first favored location was on the Rec Field (Aikens Field) behind Parker. Unfortunately, the geology under Aikens Field, while perfectly suited for an athletics field, is not suitable for the kind of foundation necessary to build a parking garage. The freshman parking garage is not in close proximity to residence halls, clearly, but it is in close proximity to well-traveled Ralph Shockey Drive, has a great foundation, and serves our first-year students, as well as Shentel Stadium and the Wilkins Athletics and Events Center.”