How many times have you parked at the DH to grab a meal with friends only to return to your car with a slip of paper stuck under your windshield wipers? What about when you park near the PAC because you have a class and it is raining and frigid out? Or when it is after dark and you think, “there’s no way they’d be so heartless, right? I'll be back in an hour... it should be fine." Well, I advise you to think again. When you get out from class and see that ticket glaring at you, you cannot help but think that the Furman "parking police" is out to get you. Let’s face it, all of us have been there and it is incredibly frustrating.
As someone living in North Village, the 1 mile walk to the PAC is not always pleasant. There are days where the temperature is in the 30s and my hands start to feel numb. And do not get me started when the wind blows against my face, and I am left shivering and wishing that I did not have to walk. Why is Furman so strict about parking for upperclassmen? And while I understand that not everyone has the ability to drive to class, I do think Furman should offer better parking rules— especially during the winter season. In addition to this, there are only two 30 minute parking spots for the PAC, which certainly deters me from working out there.If you ask me why this is our reality, the answer is money.
Furman University is a very expensive school to attend; before aid, the total cost for four years of attendance is $213,000. With such high costs, you would expect the University to offer better parking for its students, especially because so many of us have cars on campus. Unfortunately, most student feedback goes unnoticed by the school. It took a student falling dangerously ill from black mold for Furman to renovate the North Village apartments, and there is still no sign of freshman dorms being renovated any time soon. I understand that these are very significant projects that take lots of planning (and most schools would simply refuse to do anything about mold— speaking from experience), but the parking issue is not so complicated. At the very least, Furman could allow upperclassmen living in NV (all of whom have a blue sticker) to park in the Chapel lot, or have a designated area near the PAC. But the University will not listen. Instead, they are focused on squeezing every last dollar out of students. Every time you get a parking ticket, the cost goes up. And what if you refuse to pay? They will put a boot on your car and force you to pay even more to get your car back.
Ask any student about the parking situation and they will all say the same thing: parking at Furman is horrible. There is plenty of space in both Chapel lots for all upperclassmen to park, but only seniors and commuters are allowed to use these lots. Because most people living in North Village have cars and are juniors/seniors, it seems perfectly acceptable for us to be allowed to park there as well. At a minimum Furman should offer health sciences/public health majors and ROTC cadets to park there, but apparently that is too much to ask.
Not to mention, it is almost impossible to get a parking permit from the health center. If you have an injury or illness that causes you pain or difficulty with walking (unless it is catastrophic), you are just going to have to tough it out. With North Village being so far from the PAC and central parts of campus, it surprises me there are no parking options for upperclassmen living there.
Don't get me wrong, I truly love Furman. It just saddens me to see so much that is not right about the way the school operates. Continuing to dismiss students' concerns and comments is hurting the University’s reputation, whether they realize it or not. On a positive note, though, I have noticed a recent shift in Furman listening to students: the late-night option at Bread and Bowl. This has been something many students have requested, so seeing this change on campus gives me hope that Furman will begin listening to students. Parking is a fairly simple fix, right? Only time will tell if Furman listens, and you bet my fingers will be crossed in the meantime.