Americans drive too much. At the most basic level, doing so is bad because making a trip by car that can be made easily by foot or bike is a waste of money and time.
I have been to Europe on three occasions and can safely say that I met more people on those three trips who did not own cars than I have ever met in America – and they didn’t need to own cars, either. This summer, for example, I lived in an apartment in the middle of Florence, Italy. During this time, my feet proved to be my main mode of transportation. I did not once get into a car, and soon came to a startlingly realization that cars are not as necessary as many Americans believe. I also saved about six weeks’ worth of gas money. Had I stayed, I would not have bought a car, compounding these savings.
Back in the States, I can count the number of individuals I know who do not own cars on one hand, meaning many people are missing out on an opportunity to save money and time. Giving up your car is not my suggestion, as I know that is an illogical and outrageous request, because it’s impossible to get around most of the United States without one. However, as a college student, becoming less dependent on your car may not be as hard as you think.
Being more conscious about driving habits and making it a goal to eliminate unnecessary driving can be easy for on-campus residents, as well as
Students living on campus should have no problem using their feet instead of their wheels, as nearly everything one needs can be found on campus. There is a clinic on campus, as well as several hospitals nearby.
You are never too far from plenty of food, as Argos and Andros provide more food in a
wider variety of choices than I will ever figure out what to do with. Fast food spots such as Burger King, Chick-Fil-A and Subway are minutes away from the dorms, in addition to the ever-popular Starbucks. Sycamore Drive and 50th Street house a variety of religious facilities, including the Catholic Student Center, the Chapel Center, the B’Nai B’rith Hillel House and the Baptist Student Center.
This campus is home to a recycling center, as well as a post office, Library and Barnes and Noble. In addition to the abundance of amenities on campus, free public transportation, in the form of the Bull Runner, takes students to the University Mall. With Hartline, Tampa’s city bus system, USF students can ride for free all over the city.
In less than 15 minutes on foot or 10 minutes on a bus, any student living on campus can have access to everything needed to survive that isn’t provided on campus. Living on campus with minimal car use is thus practical and very possible.
If you are not fortunate enough to live close to so many
conveniences because you live off campus, there are also things you can do to cut back on
If you commute, it is not
necessary to go back and forth between school and home. Once you get to campus, park in one spot and walk the rest of the day. The stress of finding a spot on campus between 9 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. is enough to make anyone give up their car for their feet. Why go through the ordeal more times than necessary when you can park once and travel by foot. for the rest of the day? As a veteran to on-campus living, I can attest to the fact that walking around campus is not all that
undesirable. Believe it or not, walking is good for you and your body and may even help prevent that dreaded freshman-15 so many students worry about.
Michelle Stark is a sophomore majoring in international studies and journalism.