Unpopular Opinions: The Parking is the Best Part about Colgate

Most students with a car on campus have at least earned one ticket by the time they are a seniorthis isn’t a statistic, it’s a well known fact. My count racks up to an embarrassing amount that helps explain how familiar I am with each and every campus safety officer. Time and time again, they’ve given me the same disappointed look that says, “Have you learned your lesson yet?” as they tow my orange car. Despite facing consequences, most students continuously make the mistake of parking somewhere they aren’t supposed to around campus. Why? Oftentimes, with Colgate’s ambitious student population, the scarcity in parking spaces can be problematic for busy schedules with lots of deadlines and short time frames. When it reaches temperatures below freezing, having to walk seems like a cruel punishment. Additionally, the hill’s incline is unappealing to any tired and hungover student trekking to morning classes. I have skipped class because I just “couldn’t walk,” and I wonder if being able to drive myself and park would have been enough to improve my attendance record.

Although being able to leave your car at a convenient location is ideal, an increase in construction for uphill parking evidently means bulldozing huge portions of our beautiful campus. There are 88 buildings, about ten miles of roads and walkways and an estimated 2,300 trees on the 575-acre campus. Whitnall Field and Taylor Lake could be put at risk if the university started seeking out new parking lot sites. Students often fixate on the negative aspects of the campus when truly, the lack of parking speaks to the condensed placement of the academic buildings and greenery that intentionally brings the community together. With the addition of new residential dorms and a career services building, it is obvious that Colgate’s priorities are to continue to implement unity throughout the campus.

At Hamilton College, which works with similar terrain and weather conditions, the parking is scattered throughout its campus, which belittles its overall aesthetic. Parking lots dominating the landscape contribute negatively to its campus beauty; Hamilton earned 93rd while Colgate received 11th most beautiful campus in Best College Reviews’ ratings. It is extremely doubtful that Colgate would have gained that reputation had the campus constructed more parking. Greenery and beautiful architecture earned us that title, not whether or not it was convenient to get to class.

An extremely important aspect to consider when evaluating the campus is safety. With Colgate’s parking most concentrated downhill at the townhouses and first-year lot, many of the students are prevented from driving uphill in icy conditions that could lead to dangerous accidents. While falling in front of your professor is unfortunate, it’s much better than crashing your car uphill or losing control. So, the next time you complain about having to walk up the hill, consider what is lost when you pave paradise, and put up a parking lot.

Contact Ruth Reynolds at [email protected].