This time of year is always special. The weather cools. The colors change: Every­thing seems to turn orange and smell like pumpkin spice. The leaves on the trees also change color, and the campus starts to look so lovely, espe­cially the west side of campus with its amphitheatre and its new rock-studded sidewalk.

But you can’t really see any of that driving down Hillsdale Street because of the line of rusty 10 to 15-year-old cars driven by off-campus stu­dents, most of whom probably haven’t reg­is­tered their cars with security and therefore can’t risk parking in the des­ig­nated lots.

Which I totally under­stand. It’s more con­ve­nient than Hillsdale College’s parking lots, and you don’t have to pay any­thing to park there. It just makes sense eco­nom­i­cally: save time and money.

For the record: I am cer­tainly not speaking from expe­rience, nor can I suggest not reg­is­tering your car because stu­dents are required to reg­ister their cars.

Back when I was a freshman, there were parking spots on campus. Now that I live off campus and need to drive up the hill, there are none. Maybe I’m just now real­izing the problem exists, or maybe it’s due to the fact that the college decided to build a Tolkien-esque tower and a new women’s dorm at the same time.

Either way, there are very few spots to park and fewer that are actually con­ve­nient for stu­dents to use.

“Well,” some of the less sym­pa­thetic among you will con­de­scend, “What’s wrong with parking over by the Simpson parking lot?”

“What’s wrong” is how incon­ve­nient parking is. I drive my car because it’s con­ve­nient. I use paper towels because they’re con­ve­nient. How about you use a flip phone? Or take the stairs every time? Why don’t you wear your clothes backward so that you can’t put your hands in your pockets when your fingers get cold?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting con­ve­nience, and if we’re going to pay $50 for a place to park, is it too much to ask that it be within a few miles of where we need to be every day?

Let me put it this way: Do you know how many bur­ritos you can buy from Taco Bell with $50? Forty-seven Beefy Fritos Bur­ritos (you gotta save $3 for tax). If we’re spending that many bur­ritos on reg­is­tering our cars, it would be nice to get to class a few minutes after parking (if it’s not too much to ask for).

Right now, the most con­ve­nient places to park are actually owned by the city: Manning Street is good, Hillsdale Street is usually crowded, but very con­ve­nient, and Summit Street also works in a pinch.

Parking there also means you don’t actually need to reg­ister (again, not an action that I condone). But, I’ve never seen anyone get a ticket for parking on Hillsdale Street, even in front of fire hydrants and too close to the corner. Plus, Hillsdale’s new parking policy means that stu­dents who don’t reg­ister their cars will be fined $75 plus the infraction fine, so it might just be worth taking your chances with the cops.

If security wanted more stu­dents to reg­ister their cars, they should have some­thing to offer them instead of long walks through his­toric Hillsdale just to get to class. Maybe stu­dents could receive vouchers for ice cream from A.J.’s Café or other incen­tives.

But as it is, the stu­dents aren’t getting enough parking spaces to make it worth all 47 bur­ritos.


Brendan Clarey is a senior studying English.

  • Marcy Almay

    This ROCKS, he needs to be made editor of this whole paper, maybe pres­ident of the college, this is a great edi­torial! 🙂

  • BradinAZ

    How far off campus do you live that you can’t just walk? It’s a pretty small town.

  • disqus_odKVC5cL1k

    You are com­plaining about what is a half mile walk maximum, that’s from the front door of the ath­letic complex to Searle, so it’s less than that, and it stays on streets, not using the through campus paths. That’s less than half the dis­tance I had to walk in college, and that was from the dorm to class, parking was further out than that.