Column: Parking remains a pain at GV

Maddie Zimmerman, Staff Writer

It’s a hot August morning. You leave for your first class 30 minutes early with the first-day jitters. You get into your car and head toward campus blasting your favorite songs to set the mood for the day. You finally get on campus and head toward Mackinac. You are relieved to see parking spots within a mile of where you need to be. You head down the first row of parking… full. The second row… full. The third row…full. You finally find a spot after nearly 20 minutes of weaving in and out of the parking lot, trying to avoid getting hit or hitting someone. You rush to class with only 5 minutes remaining due to the parking fiasco. You convince yourself that it will get better since it is the first day of classes and everyone is in the same boat… or so you thought. 

After class, you walk out of Mackinac’s doors towards the lot. You are beat from a long day of challenging classes and want nothing more than a nice lunch at your apartment. As soon as you get closer to your car you notice something on your front windshield. It’s a note. Confused, you look at your parking job, It’s really not that bad,” but pick the note up to read anyways. It reads “GVSU Parking Ticket: $25, parking in a staff member’s spot.” Your anxiety races “a staff spot?” Then you see the tiny sign with arrows pointing out that you indeed parked in a staff spot with a commuter pass. 

This is a reality for Grand Valley State University students daily. Students are paying over $240 per semester for a parking spot for there to be nowhere to park on campus. There are several tips students have shared with me over the years to help get a spot.

First, even if you live within 2 miles of GVSU’s campus, leave 30-45 minutes early so that you can circle the parking lot for that entire time to try and find a spot. You can take the bus, even though you paid $240 a semester for a parking pass on campus. You could schedule all of your classes after 6 p.m. so you can technically park anywhere to avoid not being able to find a spot.

Here’s my personal favorite: find a student that looks like they are leaving a building and walking towards the parking lot. You then follow them slowly with your car and ask if they are leaving. Then you slowly follow them to where they are parked and wait for them to back out and leave. You, of course, must put on your turn signal, because you didn’t do all of this just for someone to swoop your spot. Then you quickly whip into the open spot. These are 100% serious tips I have heard from students.

Not only are these solutions ridiculous, but they show how much of a distraction parking is for students at GVSU. 

People I know have had to skip class due to not being able to find parking. Yes, they left early enough, and yes they have a parking pass. It doesn’t matter at GVSU whether you leave an hour before class or 10 minutes before, you still struggle to find parking. GVSU needs to do something about it. Students are paying way too much to not be able to park their cars on campus.