Undergraduate Student Government’s commuter senators launched an initiative to reserve parking spots on game days for students with parking permits on Oct. 26.
The initiative began its trial run for the home game against Utah, reserving between 50 and 100 parking spots in Parking Structure 1, the closest university-owned parking facility to the Coliseum.
Spots were available for any students with parking permits, regardless of where their permits are assigned, for up to two hours prior to kickoff. At the two-hour mark, the spots were released and made available for anyone to purchase so that USC Transportation could still earn some revenue.
Some students said they felt pressed for time and limited to only one parking structure, but others were appreciative of the new opportunity.
“I would take advantage because you can’t have everything,” said Fehbe Meza, a sophomore majoring in print and digital journalism. “You have these parking spots reserved. If you want to take advantage of them, go ahead. If not, sorry, but other people do need them.”
Though the initiative has just been launched, USG is optimistic about its impact.
“We got a lot of positive feedback and we’re hoping to expand it,” USG Senior Director of Communications Olivia Diamond said. “We hope to do this for every game going forward.”
USG plans to measure the demand from the Utah game and the next home game on Nov. 16 against Stanford to determine the need for commuters driving and adjust accordingly for the UCLA game on Nov. 30 and for future seasons.
“We only have two remaining home games this season,” said Commuter Senator Brett Ressler, a junior majoring in business administration. “But we’re not just looking at this year, we’re looking at the future.”
USG is concerned, however, that students who commute cannot take advantage of the opportunity if they are not aware of it.
“Getting the word out there, that’s the hardest part,” Ressler said. “We really want the commuters to know that the university is looking out for them.”
Another issue the senators have encountered is finding the best way to communicate with the large community of commuter students.
“How do we get this massive number of commuter students together with one voice to figure out what it is that’s the biggest problem for them?” Ressler asked. “We know parking is one.”
Despite these difficulties, the senators said they are determined to inform and help commuters.
“We’re trying to just focus on the needs of our constituents,” USG Commuter Senator Lorin Winata said. “We want to make sure that you’re not at a disadvantage because you are a commuter or don’t have the opportunity to live on campus.”
Many commuters said parking hassles can hamper their college experience.
“As a new student, I want to get involved, but the only way to do that is to actually go to these events,” said commuter Michael Johnson, a third-year transfer student majoring in aerospace engineering. “A huge deterrent to people who are driving an hour to get [to USC] is when they have to spend another 30 minutes looking for parking. But if they have to pay for parking, it’s going to infuriate them even more.”
Other students, however, said they haven’t had any problems finding parking this season.
“Just because it hasn’t been a problem for me, I know that in general it is a problem,” said Anoush Djrbashian, a sophomore majoring in economics. “So just having that option is good because sometimes it is a pain.”
Though football game attendance has been low this season, USG anticipates a larger presence in future seasons and wants to be prepared for students’ needs.
“Front row parking?” Johnson said. “Who wouldn’t take advantage?”
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