Homecoming events on campus begin next Friday, November 2. The influx of alumni prompts the question of how parking on campus will be handled with so many vehicles coming to campus.
“Although we have visitor spots, the truth is that a visitor can come and really park anywhere. Those are suggested spots for someone who is going to be on our campus for the day or a guest speaker, but with special events like this, we don’t have enough visitor parking. So we all have to share and plan for the weekend,” Chief of Police Deborah Brown said.
The Police Department is offering suggestions to help students plan ahead for the weekend.
“We realize that everybody is going to get pushed out of their regular areas. What I would suggest with students would be to try and find a spot and then stay there. You might want to plan ahead a little bit.” Brown said.
Parking during homecoming has become a bigger concern this year than in past years.
“In the past we haven’t had a lot of problems because students decide to go home on that weekend, but we attempt to get everybody taken care of. We don’t write a lot of tickets on that weekend,” Brown said.
The Police Department is willing to work with students on where they can park as a result of the high number of vehicles.
“The only things we will really write tickets for are parking in fire zones, or handicapped zones, and things like that,” Brown said. “We will be giving people ideas on where they can park…[and] so far, it has worked out. There have been times when we have had to make up parking spots, and if it doesn’t rain, we can do that again.”
Students around campus are supportive of the measures the Police Department is taking.
“It is good that the Southwestern Police Department is taking some measures to prepare for the volume. Parking can get congested during Homecoming,” Senior Lauren Jensen, Political Science and Business major, said.
The Police Department has taken action when parking had been tight in the past, and they have the authority to create new spots in emergencies.
“For instance, the curve around the Robertson Center is all yellow. The Police Department can allow parking right there. So if we have a big event at the Howry Center or the Robertson Center which we feel is really going to impact the Brown Cody lot, we will open that up for cars to park there,” Brown said. “We have little tricks like that up our sleeves.”
The Police Department predicts the times of high volume to be Friday night and Saturday, but alumni are not expected to stay for the duration of the weekend.
“Homecoming is a time when people come and go. Don’t panic to the point that you think that everyone is going to come in at once,” Brown said. “Remember that you’ll be an alumnus one of these days and you’ll want to come back and see how the campus has changed. I think if we all work together, we are going to be alright.”