It’s 1 a.m., and with an early fall it’s 40 degrees outside. You drive around the parking lot by Fern Smith Hall, looking inbetween the cars for a spot. None. So you keep driving toward the parking lot behind the Bultman Center.
There is not one spot open, which leaves only one option. Driving back around, you turn toward Lot F with dread. You slow the car as your wheels hit the gravel and headlights brighten the parking lot. Almost empty, you spot several open spots. Trying to find the most lit option is hard with little lighting overall.
You park and muster up the courage to get out of the car and walk back. Every sound on the walk makes your heart beat a little faster, and every shadow becomes a dark figure from your nightmare. Your feet step as fast as possible until you cross the Juffer Athletic Fieldhouse parking lot and the alley between there and the Hub. Finally, you can breathe and walk a little slower, knowing you’re safe.
This was the predicament for all of the Fern residents, myself included, these first two months back. Often, I would have to walk back from Lot F, which is just past Juffer, in the dark, feeling less than safe. I can attest that I would choose to park farther away in another sanctioned lot than have to travel this path at night. Situations like this are exactly why some of us residents went and talked to Marlon Haverdink, Julie Elliot and others, voicing our concerns.
Almost every day, there was no parking available in the two common Fern lots this semester. Last year, there would often be 10 or so open parking spots without fail. I especially noticed this change one day when I left for a 15-minute errand and came back with my spot already taken. Many friends have had the same misfortune, resulting in the aforementioned late-night walks.
Thankfully for the students, our faculty listened to their community’s voice and asked President Greg Christy to accept a proposal for more parking. As can be seen, this proposal was signed off. It was implemented Sept. 24, less than a week ago. The new parking spots take up an extra row in Lot H by the gas station, which was faculty parking. I would like to thank the faculty for accommodating and giving up this row to us students while trying to switch their long-kept habits of parking there. The residents of Fern know this was an unexpected and swift change, but also a needed difference.
Because of the email sent out to inform residents of this fact, we found out that we were not crazy for thinking that there were more cars this year. According to Julie Elliot, there are new cars registered to Fern residents this year resulting in a surplus of twelve cars not fitting in both Lot H and Lot J. The row in Lot H was chosen because it includes thirteen parking spaces. Therefore, there is always one spot open near Fern so no one has to park in Lot F.
However, Lot F has been improved as well. Due to all of the students coming in with questions about their safety, new lights have been added to the lot. It is no longer the creepy dirt parking lot that no one wants to end up stationing their car in. Thus, if ever there are more cars that end up parking in the usual Fern lots, there can be more safety felt by us students. This is something I really appreciate Northwestern doing for us.
Again, thanks to all who helped complete this plan and solve the problem. I feel more safe parking on campus and walking, speaking for the other girls of Fern as well. The hasty solutions show a commitment to the welfare of the students on NW’s campus.