Parking for students has always been a difficult issue at St. Olaf College. Although I don’t currently own a car on campus, I feel as though I’ve already felt the struggles of parking just by observing my friends who do have cars.
We must observe the main issues students face when parking on campus. Though the cost of parking for the year ($230) is not expensive in comparison to other colleges, there just isn’t enough space to accommodate all students who bring a car to campus each year. Most of the student parking is located in Skoglund I Lot and J Lot which are fairly long walks down the hill for many people, especially during winter. Tasha Bokman ’21, who lives in Mohn, parks her car at Skoglund. When asked if she agreed that there is not enough parking space on campus, she responded, “Yes, absolutely.” Bokman said another problem is that student parking is on a “first come, first serve basis, and there is no guarantee you’ll get a space.”
“Though the cost of parking…is not too expensive in comparison to other colleges, there just isn’t enough space to accommodate most students owning cars.” – Laras Kettner ’21
Not to mention, the normal maintenance of a car, especially in a cold place like Minnesota, is a lot of work. Walking down to Skoglund just to chip snow and ice off of cars and restart engines is not only time-consuming, but also dangerous. Many students must physically dig their cars out of the snow because the snowplows often push snow up against the cars while clearing the parking lots.
Hannah Wenzel ’21 described the dangerous situation she was recently placed in when she got her hand stuck in her car’s tire as she tried to get her car out of the snow. “I was trying to get my car out, and trying to get mats under my tires to get traction because there was so much snow,” Wenzel said. “One of my tires was spinning, and grabbed onto my mitten, and pulled my hand into the wheel of the tire. We had to call EMTs to get me out and PubSafe, and I had to go to the hospital.” Thankfully, Wenzel’s hand has healed.
Parking at St. Olaf would be greatly improved if there was student parking available near dorms, and if students who paid for parking were guaranteed a reserved spot for themselves. If these factors were changed, the only thing stopping me from having a car on campus next year would be the snowy Minnesota weather.
Laras Kettner ’21 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Falls Church, Va. She majors in nursing.