Need parking? Plenty of grass to go around

Ladies and gentlemen, I have solved the parking problem here at USF.

Well, maybe not. But these ideas have been swimming around in my mind since the other day when I was accosted by five different people, asking “are you leaving?” with a carnivorous glint in their eyes. It just seems to me (and the rest of this campus) that the parking situation is getting out of hand. Perhaps this column will inspire Parking and Transportation Services to get a move on.

First, there is the matter of freshmen. Contrary to what they will all say, it does not appear an absolute necessity for freshmen to have a car on campus. There are many universities that already implement the rule that freshmen residing on campus are not allowed to keep their cars there. They already live close to everything that fills their lives (i.e. campus and student dining). Heck, they have to buy some crappy meal plan; this is just the icing on their inaugural cake.

Next come the wide open spaces that pervade this campus with no purpose. There are fields full of dead grass and trees that provide shade for nothing (and no one) at the corners of Fletcher and North Palm. Why not turn them into resident parking and allow the people who commute here to park a little closer to civilization? In my three years here, I’ve never once seen someone picnicking or enjoying those empty fields; put them to good use, for God’s sake.

Please don’t assume that I am one of the poor few scouring for spaces that simply don’t exist. I take the shuttle to and from school, and when I did commute here, I had classes early enough to get a good spot at the Sun Dome. But I feel the pain of those who have spent an exorbitant amount of money for a permit that gets you about as far as a geek on prom night.

There are numerous grassy knolls just waiting to be mowed down to make room for our ever-growing number of autos. And don’t try to give me stuff about the environment or the “beauty” of the school; this campus is not one of the prettiest in the state, and we all know it. Since our tuition or fees will be raised, we might as well get what we want (and obviously need): more parking spots.

I’m not trying to sound like I have all the answers because I’m sure you readers are going to let me know I don’t. But I know what I see and what I hear, and Greg Sylvester is doing a really poor job of keeping the students happy. People skip class because they can’t find anywhere to park. You say there are spots available on campus? Good. You park there, so the people who pay $5,000 per semester to get an education here can get to their economics class on time.

Jessica Higgins is a junior majoring in mass