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Parking and dining at USF better than often said

In recent ventures, I have had the opportunity to visit some high-profile colleges and universities. Before deciding to attend USF two years ago, I was accepted to four other schools, both in and out of state. What led to that decision, you may ask. I know that our school is not perfect, but too many times we take for granted the many things that set our school apart. I would like to share a few things I noticed last week during my travels to other schools.

First of all, I am one of the students who fell victim to the “parking crisis.” I say crisis with extreme sarcasm. I was a commuter student who complained constantly about being late to class because there were not enough spots close to the buildings. We are so quick to criticize our parking situation, but how many times do we stop and say, well, at least I am even permitted to have a car. Go to Duke University or UNC Chapel Hill and you won’t be allowed to park on campus until your sophomore year. I’ll bet our parking crunch wouldn’t be nearly as bad if we prohibited freshmen and sophomores from having a car on campus. So thank you, Parking and Transportation Services, for allowing me, another whiney sophomore, to have a car on campus this fall.

Also, let me tell you how lucky we are to have such outstanding dining opportunities on campus. With the exception of the Engineering building, you cannot go anywhere on campus without being within walking distance of a good place to eat. Out of the four campuses I toured just last week, only one had dining in places other than their main dining location. Students who were across campus had to hike back to the dorm area before they could eat. When you have only 15 minutes between classes, this can become difficult. The quality and variety of our food surpasses anything I have seen anywhere else, and I am especially appreciative of that after going hungry on a few other campuses.

As if that wasn’t enough, I also noticed how beautiful our campus is. Sure, we may not be set in the mountains, and our architecture may not be as historic, but our campus is far better kept than Emory University or UNC Chapel Hill; in a lot of areas I saw trash or brown spots. It is tough to find a place on USF’s campus that has not recently been pruned or cleaned.

There are many other things I could go on about. Our facilities, especially the Marshall Center, far surpass what many other big-name schools have to offer.

The new school year no doubt will bring another round of criticism to our university, because nothing is ever perfect. But before we complain, let’s try to appreciate what we have. I am so proud to be a Bull. The new school year heralds many exciting things for our university and I hope that as students, staff and faculty, we can all come together and take pride in our wonderful school.

Brittany Link is a sophomore and has not yet declared a major.