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Letter to the Editor: Working off-campus, while living on

 Lucinda Busselle | Guest Columnist 

I’m a Bowling Green local and a freshman at BGSU this year. Like many other students, I chose to live on campus because I have heard it was a good way to make friends and an essential part of the college experience. Because I’m a local, I went into my first semester with two off-campus jobs, which meant I left campus four times a week. Through this experience, I ran into a discriminatory parking permit policy for on-campus students who choose to work off campus. 

There are four on-campus parking lots, Lot 15, 12, I and L. Three of the four lots are located off-campus, one being two streets over from Wooster, and two being next to or behind Doyt Stadium. Lot 15 is the closest to most residence halls, but it’s consistently full and quite small.

 Lot 12 is usually full in every section except the very back corner, which makes it about a 15 to 20-minute walk from most residence halls. Many students would prefer to be closer to their halls for convenience reasons. However, students who work off campus need to be able to park closer to their dorms for safety reasons and proximity of shifts to the end of their classes. 

For example, once a week, my shift starts half an hour after my class, but from my dorm hall is a 19-minute walk to the lot. So, I’m often in a mad dash worried about being late because my car is so far away. When I come back from work, the lot has usually been filled up until the back corner, so I must park there. 

This means I make a 20-minute walk back from my car, in the dark, on a college campus where assault is statistically more likely.  I approached the BGSU parking service about this issue and was told that students who work can apply for special access: however, they failed to include that this special access is only available to students who work off-campus through BGSU. 

This means anyone choosing to live on campus in any non-BGSU job has no other option than to make the long walk during unsafe times. Working students are also technically commuting to their jobs, but are not given the opportunity for a commuter pass, though they may leave campus as often as students who commute to class.

Most students will run into this issue at some point and be left with no options. Higher education is expensive, and sometimes students have to work while obtaining their degree, but because of this policy, it is quite difficult to do so. When I was starting at BGSU I asked many people if it was hard to live on campus but work off, and only one person I talked to had ever even worked off-campus.  Most opted to not work off campus due to the struggle of commuting. 

BGSU is a major part of Bowling Green and the influx of students every year could bring economic benefits and new employees to the community, but BGSU is blind to students who try to work within the Bowling Green community. Not to mention, first- and second-year students are required to live on campus unless they choose to live at home, so they are unable to avoid this issue. The majority of freshman and sophomore students live on campus due to this policy, as many are too far away from home. 

All of this comes down to frustrating reality. If you are a student who works off-campus, it’s going to be better to live off-campus. 

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