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Let the lines begin

Freshman James Wilson waited to speak to a Financial Aid representative as more students filed into the small space sectioned off by black rope.

“Every time I come here, there is a line out the door, and it is not going to get better,” he said. “I need to get this fixed so I can worry about classes instead of financial problems.”

Long lines not only plagued the Office of Financial Aid, but the entire campus from the Bookstore to parking lots.

The congestion is common on the first day, but coupled with the yearly increase of students, the university is busting at the seams.

Doug Hartnagel, associate vice president for Planning and Enrollment, estimated 37,000 students on all USF campuses. Last year’s numbers put the university total at 36,378.

That increase could be felt directly on the pavement in the forms of traffic jams and stuffed parking lots.

Both the Library and Sun Dome lots filled in the morning, forcing Parking and Transportation Services to open Fowler Field.Junior Victoria Mancinelli said she was disappointed that the parking situation had not improved. “Parking is absolutely horrible because there is nowhere to park,” she said.

Frank Granda, operations coordinator for Parking Services, said the pileups were expected.

“We planned for it,” Granda said. “Compared to last year, things are going pretty smoothly.”

Although cars crowded lots and streets, Sgt. Mike Klingebiel of University Police, said no accidents were reported.

As cash registers rang, students raced into the Bookstore but didn’t leave so quickly. Throughout the day, the checkout line snaked through the aisles.

With the influx of students, UP stationed officers at the Bookstore to watch theft during the first week of classes.

Officer Catherine Roche stood near the Bookstore sensors checking bags and receipts each time the sensor buzzed.

“I can definitely say everyone has been cooperative (when the sensor has gone off),” she said. “When it gets busy, it’s hard to keep an eye on everybody.”

Roche said no thefts were reported at the store Monday.

Freshman Rachel Frank had no difficulty finding her books for classes, despite the crowd in the store.

“Everything was easy to access, but I was surprised at how expensive my books were,” Frank said holding a bag of her new books.

Staff writer Grace Agostin contributed to this report.

Contact Selina Roman at