Parking at the Rec should not wreck students

By Amber Siwicki

With the cost of tuition and rent, some students can hardly afford groceries, let alone gym memberships. Luckily for the students at NIU, we have been blessed with the Campus Recreation Center. Even better, the cost of membership is included in tuition. Any full-time NIU student who feels like heading to the Rec to work out and stay fit may do so at no out-of-pocket cost.

Actually, that may not be entirely true.

Students who have cars here should be aware of the lack of parking space on campus. Parking in certain lots without the appropriate pass puts your car at risk of getting ticketed or towed.

About half of the Rec’s parking lot is metered, and a little more than half is sticker-required parking. If all the meters are taken, people have to park in the sticker section and hope they don’t find a ticket on their car when they return. Why is the whole lot not designated to the Rec? On top of this, why do students need to pay to work out?

The meters take nickels, dimes and quarters, which give people three, five and 15 minutes on the meters, respectively. Someone who goes to the Rec for one hour, five days a week will spend $20 in a month’s time. Over the course of a school year, that really adds up. For college students who have to work while attending school to make ends meet, that’s $20 each month that could certainly be doing more good if it were to go toward food or gas.

I attempted to contact the coordinator of parking and traffic for Campus Parking Services, Laura Lundelius, but she was not available for comment.

I know I’m not the only student frustrated with having to trade in dollars every week for a workout session I have already paid for. The entire parking lot should be reserved for the Rec. There is no reason to charge students to be at the Rec. I feel the university gets enough money from the students throughout the course of a school year. We should be able to park our cars at the Rec and work out without having to first empty our pockets.