When talking to your student about their experiences on campus, mentioning parking may yield a negative response. Parking struggles on campus are a consistent complaint of students at Missouri State. However, parking troubles aren’t specific to only Missouri State. Most universities in fact have a negative outlook on parking on their own campuses. Though parking on our campus will never be ‘fixed’ for every student, the best solution is a change in outlook and knowledge of certain tips to improve the parking experience.
Parking issues differ depending if a student lives on campus or commutes to campus. When it comes to commuting to campus, students are often frustrated to find parking before class. Students tend to show up ten to fifteen minutes before their class to look for parking at the closest to the building they are headed into. Now, though there is parking available all over campus, not every student can park in the most convenient location. Instead, students should arrive on campus with ample time to park and travel to class. Parking lots slightly further from the academic side of campus are less crowded in general. Our campus shuttle system, the Bear Line, allows for this process of traveling to the academic side of campus to be more convenient and efficient. The amount of time students spends circling popular parking lots on campus, they could spend the same amount of time parking in less popular lots and utilizing the Bear Line shuttle to travel to class. Planning ahead and being intentional on where a student decides to park could improve a student’s outlook on parking on our campus. To become more familiar with parking options and the Bear Line shuttle on our campus, students can visit https://map.missouristate.edu.
When it comes to individuals living in residence halls, they not only have different struggles with parking than commuter students, but they also deal with these issues at different points in the day. Residence life students generally walk to class or take the Bear Line shuttle and therefore don’t struggle with parking in order to go to class. A time when individuals living in residence halls do struggle with parking is at night and after a weekend at home. To help with their struggles with parking, encourage your student to travel back to campus earlier on a Sunday evening than they currently do. Students that arrive back to campus late Sunday are likely to have to park in the northern parking lots. Most students are preparing for the upcoming week on Sunday nights and are likely spending time in their residence halls rather than enjoying what Springfield has to offer. During the week, parking could potentially be less than ideal late in the evenings. Some students work late or have off-campus plans that requires them to leave campus later in the evening. Sometimes, students cannot avoid having to park further from their residence hall then preferred. For students returning to campus late in the evening, they can always reach out to our on-campus dispatch center to utilize our ‘Safe Walk’ program. Once called, a Campus Safety Specialist will be dispatched to the student’s current location and they will be escorted to another location on campus. For students feeling uncomfortable walking back to their residence hall late at night due to having to park further from their building, they can call 417-836-5509 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This number is printed on the back of your student’s BearPass card to be easily accessible.
Overall, the university has worked to increase parking options on our campus. During the summer parking lot maintenance program, Transportation Services and Planning, Design and Construction evaluate increasing parking spaces in each parking lot that is under maintenance. Furthermore, coming Fall 2020, Missouri State will have a new residence hall that will include four stories of parking. This increase of parking spaces with benefit all students. Less students will need to park in Bear Park North which will allow more space for both commuters and residence hall students to park in that specific parking garage.
If your student happens to receive a parking ticket from the university, they can appeal the ticket or allow the payment to be differed to their student account. However, there is a third option for students who would like to have their parking ticket payment covered. The ‘Bear with Me Program’ allows students to pay parking citations by completing community service hours within fifteen days of the citation. This initiative was brought to Missouri State University by Student Government Association. If your student mentions that they received a parking citation, encourage them to look into the program. For more information on the ‘Bear With Me Program’ please visit https://www.missouristate.edu/transportation/parking/bear-with-me-program.htm.