Being a senior who lives off campus, I was much less concerned this year about on-campus living than when I lived in Midrise my sophomore year. That is, until I found out late last semester that Marist proposed a rule that stated students must have 50 credits—a second semester sophomore at the earliest—to have a car on campus.
There’s been a significant reduction in the amount of parking spots at Marist due to the construction of the new science building and residence halls. This lead to a discussion of options by the senior administration of the college, at which the decision was made to raise the amount of credits needed to have a car on campus from 30 to 50.
In terms of the size of this campus, this decision is completely understandable. There is physically no room for the upperclassmen and underclassmen to park their cars. Regardless, my biggest concern was for the sophomores living in the townhouses. How are they supposed to get their groceries? Or do anything off campus? Why isn’t anyone else as concerned about this as I am?
My curiosity led me to talk to residents in each house of the full-kitchen sophomore housing Marist offers; Upper and Lower New Townhouses, Foy and Gartland, and apparently, we’re all equally appalled at the entire ‘getting groceries’ situation.
As I sat down with each of the four residents, the first question I asked them was how they got their groceries. Sophomore Nicolette Dankmyer, a resident of Foy, looked me dead in the eye and hit me with the following bullet:
“I went three weeks without food once.”
I gasped in horror.
“No one wanted to go to the dining hall because we have a kitchen, so I lived off cheez-its.”
Another gasp of horror escapes my mouth. Cheez-its?
Having to eat at the dining hall seven days a week for three meals a day is the exact nightmare that sophomores attempt to avoid by choosing to live in housing with a full kitchen. With the situation given, one would think that these students could just carpool to Stop & Shop, but it’s a little more complicated than expected.
“Two of my housemates have special exceptions, so I’m lucky enough that I have two people to be able to go and get something when I need it,” says Dankmyer, “but it’s still hard because they went two days ago and I didn’t need to go then. It’s just more difficult because I have to plan my schedule around going to the grocery store. It would be nicer to not have to depend on someone to have to bring me anywhere.”
In comparison to the other residents, Dankmyer’s situation appears to be ideal. Upper New resident Kelly Hennigan uses a different approach when it comes to getting her groceries.
“My mom comes up to school to take me grocery shopping,” said Hennigan when I asked her how she got her food for the week. “She’ll be like ‘oh, I’ll come up for the day and we can get lunch, and then go grocery shopping.’ It’s so inconvenient for her.”
Her roommate, Christina Doyle, says she had been planning on someone in her house having a car in order to get her groceries.
“I wouldn’t have had my car here anyway,” says Doyle. “so the thing that annoys me the most is that I was banking on a lot of people in my house to have their cars. I’m just bothered by it because how are we supposed to get food?”
When I mentioned that there’s a shuttle from Marist to Stop & Shop, they both responded in unison that they can’t carry all their bags from the store to the shuttle and that they didn’t want to wait around for an hour for the shuttle to come pick them up after they’ve finished. Understandable. The entire trunk of my car is filled with grocery bags after I go grocery shopping.
“I took an extra credit last semester so I’d have 50 by next semester”, says Hennigan, who had just gotten a car this summer to have on campus for this year. Rough.
My second question asked the residents if they felt that not having a car has stripped them of the freedom they were looking for when they chose to live in housing that didn’t require a “swipe.”
“I feel like a freshman again. I can’t go anywhere off campus,” says Doyle. “it’s more than just food shopping, I want to go around the area and now I can’t do that.”
This response sidetracks my thoughts. I think back to my sophomore year, driving to Rossi’s in my best friend’s convertible, as she explained to me how excited I should be because I was about to have the “best sandwich of my life.” The freedom we had, knowing that we could go anywhere we wanted, was something I was so grateful for at that moment.
My heart breaks a little bit. Partially because it just dawned on me that these girls can’t get Rossi’s whenever they want, but mostly because these sophomores haven’t be able to experience the sense of freedom that I once had.
My next question confronted the rumors that students were bringing their cars and parking them unregistered.
“One of my housemates does that,” says the Gartland resident who wanted to remain anonymous. “S[he] brings it up and parks it illegally in the Home Depot parking lot.”
If you’re like me and only check your FoxMail twice a semester, you may or may not know that security has asked the owners of the stores in the neighboring shopping center to be on the lookout for student cars so campus security can tow them out. Well played, security, well played.
“It’s just more of a hassle,” says the Gartland resident, “but it’s not affecting our overall experience of sophomore year.”
Until this parking fiasco is figured out, I’ll be more than happy to drive the sophomores wherever they want charging only one Rossi’s sandwich per ride.