“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” is an idiom made famous by Benjamin Franklin in 1789.
If Franklin were alive today, however, he may be obliged to add a third certainty: college students complaining about parking.
For many universities, parking is a serious issue that almost always comes with some sort of expense levied to students and rarely guarantees a spot one would consider desirable.
At SVSU, we are spoiled in terms of parking availability and are quick to forget how good we really have it.
Far too often, we see classmates take to social media to grumble about having to park by the field house, or even worse: in the last rows of Curtis.
This sense of entitlement makes me wonder if my fellow Cardinals have ever ventured to another college campus and experienced the true nightmare parking can be.
To see one of these cynics wallow in the complexity over the state of parking at Michigan State or U of M would truly be a remarkable experience.
Both of these universities’ yearly parking passes cost hundreds of dollars and usually come with upwards of a mile walk to class.
The perceived issue of parking at SVSU is one that has been around for decades.
Last week, I happened to find a folder of student concerns from 2007. In the folder, I found nearly 20 complaints about parking alone.
Could it be that the university hasn’t acted on any of these complaints over the years, or is it more likely that our mindset hasn’t changed?
Don’t get me wrong: Who wouldn’t love to come to campus every day and park in front of the library?
This is always one of the busiest parking lots on campus due to its location, and for this reason is always full.
However, instead of complaining that we can’t find space, why don’t we just deal with the extra 50-meter walk from the Ryder lot?
Too often we say that parking is the problem when in reality the problem is our entitled mindset.
For what it’s worth, we still have it better than nearly every public university in the state.
Not only is there more than sufficient parking, but we only pay a small $1.70 parking fee per credit hour.
This is far below rates charged at other universities, and much better than the proposed parking structure under the SVSU Campus Master Plan that was published in August 2012.
The SVSU Campus Master Plan, which guides future development and practices for the university, discussed the need for a paid permit system that “should be in alignment with other peer institutions such as Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.”
If we were to set similar prices as these universities, we would be paying a minimum of $185 a year to park.
This totals far less than the $1.70 per credit hour we currently pay.
In addition to a paid permit system, the master plan also talks about a “Park Once” philosophy.
Under this practice, “students who lived on campus would not be allowed to move their vehicle during normal class times.”
This would mean no driving to class in the winter, no driving to Ryder and no driving to get food on campus.
As neither of these concepts have been actually carried out, we should find ourselves truly blessed.
Instead of taking to social media or submitting complaints, maybe we should all relax a bit and take the extra walking time to reflect on how good we really have it here.