By Ashley Lyons / Full360 Reporter
In the dark, early morning hours on a cold, winter day, Hannah Hoffman, set off on foot to class from her dorm. The large animal science major at Delaware Valley University headed to a lab in the school’s Livestock Center, making a half-mile long trek to get to her destination.
With limited parking options, Hoffman said she has no choice but to walk across campus and the train tracks to get to class. Though there is a small lot near the Livestock Center, she is rarely able to find a spot. She, like many students, wish the lots were large enough to accommodate the students and their vehicles, especially large trucks like hers. It’s more than just an issue of punctuality for students; it’s also an issue of safety, Hoffman said.
Hoffman isn’t the only student who often has to travel across campus to get to class. Sometimes, students have to walk alone early in the morning or late at night, sometimes through the woods or over the train tracks that bisect the school’s campus. Instead of making the walk, some students park illegally, facing fines and disrupting the flow of traffic.
School officials say the university has enough spots for all students.
According to Jeff Brown, DelVal’s Director of Facilities, the school has approximately 912 students that park on campus, and about 1,275 total parking spaces, which should be enough spots to accommodate all the students at the university.
Some students feel otherwise, such as Cass Scott, a small animal science student at DelVal, who said that, because her classes are in Allman, on one side of campus, and she parks in Lot A, on the other side of campus, she is often late. She said she can never find a spot in the Life Sciences lot, which is closer to her classes.
Audrey Hastings, a conservation and wildlife student at Del Val, recalled one instance when she was trapped on campus because of the parking conditions. “I got blocked in because people park illegally along the side and I couldn’t get out… I was late to work…like an hour late.”
Hasting’s experience with people parking illegally at the university is not unique. Media and communications student, Emma Monismith also brought up the issue of Freshman parking: “I feel like, this year, people haven’t been following the parking rules as well. A lot has been full of Freshman cars.”
Brown, when asked about this, said that the administration was aware of this issue, and that Public Safety attempts to make these students move when possible and does the same when they see faculty parked where they shouldn’t be.
The university’s public safety officials appear to be cracking down on illegal parking. As of February 15, about five illegally parked cars in the Life Sciences parking lot had been ticketed, and Public Safety carts were seen driving around the lot to monitor the parking.
While the parking may not be convenient for all students, enough spots exist, according to Kathy Howell, the school’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
“We have enough spaces total for the total number of students, understanding it may not be entirely convenient.” Sometimes, students will have to walk across campus, but there will always be available spots for them, she said.
Public Safety also is partly responsible for ensuring student’s safety on campus, and while the school’s website points to the university’s safe environment, some students say they feel unsafe when walking to or from parking lots in the dark.
Hoffman is one of many students who find themselves walking far distances at night or early in the morning. Monismith talked about her own experiences parking in E lot, and sometimes having to walk to her dorm building late at night, which she recalled as “scary,” especially because of the woods she had to pass by.
Hastings also described a situation where, because her car was blocked by someone who’d parked illegally, she called Public Safety who ticketed and booted the car illegally parked. Her car was later found “keyed,” and the vandal was never found. Hastings said, “there’s no camera, so we can’t do anything about it.”
Howell, while understanding students’ concerns, said that preservation of the school’s campus is important, and while a parking lot closer to the heart of campus would be more convenient, she doesn’t think “any of us want to see a parking lot in the quad.” Furthermore, Howell believes that at DelVal, “we probably have it as good as others—not to underplay students’ concerns.”
Brown and Howell both explained that the university’s administration and staff is there for the students, as is the student government, and both are open to hearing students’ perspectives on these issues and taking students’ suggestions into consideration.
Brown explained that he and the school can’t help students if they don’t know about the issues students are dealing with. He urged students to contact him at Jeffery.email@example.com with any of their concerns:
“I would just like to say that if anyone has any issues, I’m really here to help and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me in any way for anything.”