It’s 3:30 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. After a long day juggling practice, work and school, finding a place to park was the only thing separating me from my dorm room in the SLC. I tried my luck and swung around the parking lot between Garner and Willer. Historically, I have had little to no success finding a spot here. The spots are always limited, and you’ll be hard pressed to pull in at the same time that someone is leaving. With no spots in place, I turn around dejected but not defeated. Next stop, Lind Street.
As I pull around on Lind Street, the scene is not pretty. Cars line up both sides of the street. Almost every day, a car is illegally parked on the yellow like it’s not against the law. I could park further down the street, but it is almost a solid two blocks from campus. I pull into C-lot, which is almost nearly full as well. Cars line up all the spots, up until the back of the parking lot. Feeling defeated, I park in the back of C lot, which is about 100 feet from the spot I tried to avoid earlier.
Cars line up a Packed Lind Street
Quincy University has a serious parking problem, and it’s effecting students and faculty alike. My co-worker Robin Hummert has to park on the street and walk about a block to get to her job. Snow, sleet, sunshine or rain she has to make that trip. When the Quincy University men’s Basketball teams play at home, the parking lot in front of the HFC is blocked off. Cars line both sides of the street around the building, and continue up the side of the street. The opposing team’s bus usually takes the back half of C-lot, so there’s that. And we already remember from earlier that the parking lot between Willer and Garner is never available. With an expected expansion with the football team coming, along with men’s and women’s lacrosse coming this fall, Quincy University must find a way to solve this dilemma.
One solution to the problem is a practical one, but most likely will not happen here on campus. On college campuses across the nation, freshman year students are not allowed to have vehicles on campus. This could very much free up some of the congestion on campus, but the possibility of this happening is slim to none. A huge recruiting pitch for Quincy University is the fact that first year students can bring their cars on campus, and this luxury is a huge reason why some students choose QU. Taking this away could potentially hurt Quincy University’s numbers, and turn people off to the school.
The school also could implement an on vehicle campus system that is based on the grade point average of the student. The idea is that students who have maintained a certain grade point average would be allowed to keep their cars on campus, eliminating some vehicles and freeing up some space on campus. It would also give students an incentive to work hard and get good grades while here at school. North Carolina A&T has a policy in place which allows students to have cars on campus only in the spring semester and after achieving a 3.2 grade point average in the fall of their freshman year. This could be two fold for Quincy University, in that it would help solve the parking problem as well as the academic success of the school.
The most obvious fix is to expand the school, and build additional parking to accommodate students. This is easier said than done however, with finances being the most apparent barrier to overcome. Other obstacles to consider is space. The campus is built in the middle of a community, with houses and businesses surrounding it. There is simply no room to build a parking lot, or to expand the ones currently on campus. The only parking lot that can be feasibly expanded is the lot adjacent to the HFC. Expansion of that parking lot would require building on campus, hindering the natural beauty of the campus and the open atmosphere that the school currently has.
On my good days, I am lucky to find a parking spot on Lind Street, a couple hundred feet from my dorm room in the Student Living Center. On the bad days, the trek from the Garner parking lot back on campus to my dorms is brutal during the Illinois winters. My suggestion to Quincy University? Get a system in place that challenges the students here to try in the classroom and rewards them with the opportunity to have a car in the freshman year here. That first semester can set them up perfectly for their academic career here, and the sense of triumph by earning a parking spot can be just what they need to enjoy their time here at Quincy. The school solves the problem of parking, as well as grooming young scholars that will help the academic status of the University. And a fifth year senior like myself can have somewhere to park when it is snowing outside on a long winter afternoon.