By Kassandra Garza
Since its inception in 1969, our school, Texas A&M International University, has grown in many different ways. Whether it is the addition of new subjects and departments or the rising population of students and faculty, TAMIU has long been considered a prime example of growth and development amongst the universities of Texas. Although our school has a sizable body of students living on-campus, a great many more people travel and commute to the university to take classes and/or work. Unfortunately, one of the problems TAMIU at the moment is the lack of adequate parking for much of the faculty and student populace. Whether it is finding a parking spot close to your classroom or just finding a place to park at all, this is a complication that continues to grow alongside the TAMIU populace.
I have personally been a student here at TAMIU since 2014 and I have experienced my share of unsatisfying parking experiences; I am certain a substantial number of other students have, as well. As many people, including myself, have to work or live in other parts of Laredo (perhaps even in other cities or communities), sometimes it is difficult to find a parking spot at all. This is especially true at certain hours when some people are done with classes and traffic goes both to and from the university. There may be other reasons traffic becomes chaotic at the university: perhaps a parent is just getting to class after dropping off their children or maybe a person might have barely finished working their shifts and are just arriving at the school.
Events being held at TAMIU can also lead to trouble finding parking. While a majority of sporting events and extracurricular presentations are held in the afternoon hours, there are still a plethora of students that have afternoon and evening classes and locating a spot to park can also be troublesome. Finding a parking space close to the building you work or study at might not be very important, but walking a short distance to and from your vehicle is undoubtedly safer than a longer one. It is also a burden worrying about your vehicle and whether it or your personal belongings are safe where you left them. No university is without crime but there are always ways to help our students, teachers, and visitors and make them feel safe. At the same time, the bus drops off right at the Student Center. It may not be at the Bob Bullock or Pellegrino Buildings, but it is alway wise to condsider TAMIU’s public transportation.
Even though new parking spaces will soon be available near the Student Success Center, that still leaves a gap of available parking for students and faculty members that study and work at buildings such as the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center or Bob Bullock Hall. That is why I believe we need a newer, larger parking lot opposite the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library or close to the Residential Learning Center. This would alleviate some of the traffic that goes through the Student Center and it would be of great use to students, staff, and visitors to our university. It can also provide space for parking or other things for events such as the increasingly popular AutMus Fest. There are a many number of things that can be done about security in a new parking lot: security cameras, regular patrols, etc. Although engaging in new endeavors may be complicated in many ways, together, as a community and a university, we all can undoubtedly find solutions to any problems we may encounter. As the school semesters pass by and TAMIU evolves and expands, the faculty and student bodies also continue to grow alongside our university. Finding a park your vehicle is something that is considered and thought about on a daily basis and at times finding a parking spot is a difficult and time-consuming process.
In order to accommodate the rising number of faculty and students attending TAMIU, it is imperative that we find ways to help the students that attend our school, the teachers that work here, and the people that visit and make sure their experience here is a positive one. By providing a new parking lot, this is one way we, as a community, are helping. As the population of our university increases, so does the need to sustain and maintain accommodations for all these people: that includes a safe and convenient place to park one’s car.