Our university spans more than a thousand acres and enrolls over 34,000 students, yet there is a single unifying belief among those who have ever had to park a car here—the university truly hates its commuters.
If you are one of the 26,407 students living off campus, you have probably noticed less parking, as a former commuter lot has been converted into a residential lot.
As a result, commuters have found it frustrating and difficult to find parking that is within reasonable distance from their classes. The closest spots fill up quickly, leaving many to trek from lots on the mercilessly treeless Skip Bertman Drive.
This may not have been a big problem last year with the majority of classes being online, but this year, campus is alive once more.
A sea of students rushes across campus trying to readjust to in-person classes. They must find the best seat in the class, preferably away from the loud air-filtering mechanical monsters, and brave the lines in the Student Union to grab lunch. Pandemic or not, that's a lot to handle.
Now, we must also deal with arriving to class huffing, puffing and sweaty because the only available parking spot happened to be in the complete opposite direction of where you needed to be.
Throw in the extremely unpredictable Louisiana weather, and it's little wonder why students start to think that maybe the university really does hate its commuters.
Forget your umbrella? Have fun walking 30 minutes through the downpour, praying your laptop will survive without water damage. Heat advisory warning? Hope you're prepared for a leisurely stroll in 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
The university has a lot on its plate, so I don’t expect the administration to prioritize building new parking lots or cultivating a better commuter experience. I would like them, though, to care just a tiny bit more about our welfare.
I understand the financial and geographic difficulties of creating a new parking lot. Instead, maybe offer some additional services that don’t add to our already hefty tuition expenses.
Simple changes like a more reliable bus system to get people from the furthest parking spots to the Quad, or water stations that provide free water on blistering days, would go a long way to showing that the university truly cares for its students.
These are just small ideas that I came up with on the spot as I was writing this. The university pays people for this and has the funds to generate ideas and execute them.
I don’t expect a big bold move like opening a parking garage. I just want an ounce of effort, just a centimeter of movement in the right direction, to see that this university truly does not hate its commuters.
Anthony Bui is a 21-year-old English senior from Opelousas.