The University made history by welcoming its largest freshman class with more than 6,000 students enrolled this fall semester, according to LSU Media Center.
Freshmen under the age of 21 are required to live on campus, unless they stay with a guardian within a 50-mile radius. Residential Life revealed the University has 7,600 students living on campus this year, and 4,000 are freshmen. The University made more history by having the most campus residents compared to previous semesters.
It is exciting this flagship university is attracting more students who have a desire to pursue higher education, but a major influx of students results in limited parking space for employees and students who commute.
Starting next school year, the University should create a new policy prohibiting freshmen who live on campus to bring their vehicles. The purpose of residential housing is to not only make it easier for freshmen to transition from high school to college life but to encourage campus engagement and give freshmen easily-accessible academic assistance. A car is not needed for that.
There are an abundance of beneficial resources at students' fingertips on and within walking distance of the University. Students have access to the Student Union — a thriving hub of the University with its popular restaurants, lounges for chatting and studying, conference rooms for club meetings or independent studying, an interfaith prayer room for prayer and meditation, a career center for helping students secure internships and jobs, a UPS store, a cell phone repair center, Kaplan Test Prep, a leisure arts studio, an art gallery and the Union Theatre, along with several other benefits.
Students have access to the University's health center, which provides mental health and physical wellness services. The center is open every weekday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Students in need of emergency assistance are highly encouraged to call 578-HELP (4357) or notify a residential staff member.
Numerous students, including those who live off campus, spend a great deal of their time on campus. These students are either in class honing skills for their majors, studying for exams in our resourceful library, contributing innovative ideas through clubs, promoting enriched activities through organizations, attending educational or sport events and working on-campus jobs.
The time not used by freshmen for school and extracurricular activities is often spent on or near campus. It is common to see freshmen hanging out with friends at the University's dining hall, going to clubs and bars, grocery shopping and eating at restaurants near campus.
It is unnecessary for freshmen to use their cars to go places close to campus when the University provides Tiger Trails, a free and safe public transportation service for students, faculty and staff. Tiger Trails runs throughout the week, and students can download the Transloc app to track when a bus is near and know the approximate arrival time.
Campus Transit and the University's new Gotcha bikes help solve the annoyance of walking long distances when attending classes or visiting buildings far apart.
Some students criticize the University's public transportation system for its inadequacies, but the new policy will inevitably cause the University to improve the unreliable system because freshmen will be heavily dependent on it.
Baton Rouge's Capital Area Transit Center has stops on the University's campus and brings students to places far from the University, for free, as long as a student ID is shown.
Out-of-state students should be serviced a free shuttle bus to take them to and from the airport throughout the school year. Public transportation lessens the pollution exhausted from cars and reduces traffic on campus.
Many upperclassmen who live on campus are thoroughly skilled at balancing social and academic life and have off-campus internships and jobs, so it's necessary for them to receive the privilege to use their cars.
Like upperclassmen who live off campus, on-campus upperclassmen shouldn't have to worry about finding a parking spot after coming from work or grocery shopping. Most upperclassmen don't have the expensive, freshmen-required tiger meal plan and paw points.
The parking lots used by freshmen should be turned into parking garages to allow more parking space on campus during regular school hours and game days. Employees, staff and student commuters will not have to worry about finding a space so they can teach, assist or learn.
Tulane University adopted this policy, as first-year residents are not allowed to bring their vehicles to the campus. If Tulane can successfully subscribe to this rule, so can we.
Of course, it is preferable for freshmen to have their own transportation. I understand it's easier and less of a hassle, but the increasing number of incoming freshmen is making it more difficult to find parking space on campus.
Freshmen might disagree now, but they will appreciate this policy when they become an upperclassmen.
Jasmine Edmonson is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Denham Springs, Louisiana.