BY HANNAH JONES
Have you ever circled around campus for an hour looking for a parking spot before class? Or have you ever parked illegally and gotten a ticket when there was no parking available? If so, you are not alone. One of Sacred Heart University’s main issues, according to multiple student sources, is the lack of parking on campus and the stress it can add to finding a spot before class. This in turn has the potential to make students late for class and take away from their academic experience.
Some students have particular opinions about the potential for parking to get in the way of academics. “When you mention parking to the students of Sacred Heart, their first reaction is always a negative one,” said junior Cooper Clark. “Parking on campus is overall a very stressful task. There are simply not enough spots for students to park.” Junior Krista Costanza also mentioned the stress that parking can add to the already-hectic life of a college student.
Costanza said, “It is a constant war zone about who is going to take a spot or not. It is a major factor within my everyday stress. It stresses me out more than my classes.”
“You could be circling around for an hour and still not find parking,” said Clark.
The aforementioned students are commuters, and it is among the commuter population at Sacred Heart that a majority of complaints about parking can be heard. Commuter students – regardless of whether their drive to campus is five minutes or an hour – are faced with the issue of securing a spot and getting to class on time. Clark and Costanza both stated that they leave 45 minutes before their classes start. Certain students have voiced their concerns by reaching out to Public Safety and administration.
Sophomore Denise Brito, an on-campus resident who has been assigned to off-campus parking, she said, “It takes me 30–40 minutes to get my car. The school needs to improve and take us into consideration. The lack of attention is unbelievable.” Sacred Heart’s Public Safety officers frequently ticket cars that are illegally parked – meaning they are in violation of Sacred Heart’s parking rules. When students leave their cars in non-designated parking spots in on-campus lots (such as parking along the Martire Building driveway) because of the inability to find a spot before class, the parking is still not allowed and warrants action from Public Safety. “The school has a very strict Public Safety department which does not accept a claim to appeal a parking ticket,” said Clark.
Costanza also had concerns about Public Safety’s policies. She stated, “Why should the students be punished for the lack of parking spaces on campus? I think that it is more important to go to class than to be ticketed. I understand that this is their job, but there is no reason to punish students for something that is out of their control.” Public Safety, after being asked both in-person and via email, declined to comment on the issue.
Many students, in the process of addressing why the parking issues exist, may bring up another question: is the university doing anything to fix the issue?
Sacred Heart, as of recently, is becoming recognized for its constant expansion and addition of new on-campus facilities. The university is constantly renovating old buildings, developing new projects, and purchasing new property. Some students have argued that there has been one element of campus additions that has been left out through all the renovations: parking.
“A simple solution to the issue of parking on campus would be to build more parking garages. Having adequate amounts of parking would relieve a lot of stress for commuters,” said Costanza.
Brito also commented, breaking the argument down to what she believes to be its core: “As students paying tuition, we should always come first.”