The school year has begun and as students begin their classes, getting to them has become more difficult as the rising population on campus increases pressure to find a dwindling number of available spots.
This year, Samford has a new recording-breaking freshman class of 1,080 incoming students, increasing the undergraduate population to 3,820 students. This is the first year for Samford having an incoming class of more than 1,000 students. With a large class of incoming students comes additional problems with parking and housing.
Along with the record class, Samford recently began construction on renovating Seibert Hall this past spring, causing tons of construction equipment, materials and workers to be on campus. Workers moving equipment and temporarily closing roads cause a backlog for students to travel around campus. Construction is planned to be finished in the Fall of 2024.
In addition to the increase in students, the University has had to hire more faculty and employees to service the growing population, adding to the amount of cars parked on campus each day.
Due to students getting back into classes, the first week of school caused the most issues as many students expressed concerns about having to search 20-30 min in order to find parking. During the first week, the University canceled all parking tickets between August 21 through 25 due to the issues of parking.
Senior Class President Mary Parker, discussed how the first week of school was very hectic and neither the university or students were anticipating there to be so many cars on campus. She, however, commended the school for taking swift action in order to remedy the situation and said that the “school has done everything they can with the situation we have.”
Parker states that SGA, particularly the Senate, have worked very closely with Transportation Services to relay student concerns, with most of the concerns having received a lot of positive feedback for being resolved. Parker encourages students to reach out to their senators through their colleges if they have any concerns.
Following the first week, Samford introduced a “limo golf cart service” which travels around campus in order to help ferry students and employees to their destination. They have also begun to re-strip parking in various locations with the focus being West Village due to the amount of unused spaces there.
Chief Officer Tommy Taylor, the director of the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, was very open about the ongoing situation and seems assured of the steps the University is taking. He discussed how the University is feeling “growing pains” due to the increase in enrollment and dealing with construction around campus.
Chief Taylor talked about how this has been discussed as the “perfect storm,” but he believes that the university is doing everything they can to resolve it. The university is striving to be proactive rather than reactive in order solve this current dilemma. The university is striving to be proactive rather than reactive in order to solve this current dilemma.
“[I] know this is something extremely important to the President and to public safety. We want the campus to remain safe.”
For now, Samford is limited on how they can solve parking in the short term; however, there are already plans being made for the future. “Samford has done a lot to alleviate the issue,” Mary Parker said. “In the years to come, we will see changes.” From adding parking lots and parking decks to increasing transportation around campus, Samford is looking toward the future in order to benefit students, professors and employees.