Dear Liberty University,
First of all, I want to thank you for the great education I received during my four years in residence on your campus. I majored in print journalism and minored in graphic design, was editor in chief for the Liberty Champion, and built a great resume through your internship and honors programs. I met some great teachers, some of whom have become mentors. I made friends I still keep in touch with, even though we’re states apart. I grew spiritually and mentally stronger through the practical application of your motto, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” To say my time and money were well-spent would be accurate, and I’m proud to put an LU Alumni sticker on the back of my Hyundai Elantra.
I mention my car (his name is Sean Connery) for one specific reason. I bought Sean after graduation. After I moved off campus and started my post-college life. Why is the timeline important, you ask? Because I want to prove that it is possible to go to school on Liberty’s mile-wide campus and not own a car.
Even though I’m not at Liberty or in Lynchburg anymore, I’ve heard tell of the parking changes you are making, and they frustrate me. Mostly because the problem isn’t the number of parking spaces, or the number of people on your campus, or the lack of enforcement on people parking in the correct spots. The problem is who you are allowing to bring cars to campus.
The freshman class, as announced in the first convocation of every school year, gets increasingly bigger every year. A lot of them, for one reason or another, decide to bring their cars to school so they can drive from their dorm to North — excuse me — Green Hall. As a freshman in 2006, I spent most of my time walking to North Campus from Dorm 33, which are on polar opposite sides of campus. This was before the bus system. Before I had friends who could drive me places.
The point of my story? Restricting cars to upperclassmen and faculty would solve the parking issue at Liberty. You wouldn’t have to charge faculty — who are a mite underpaid for the time and effort they put into training future champions for Christ — $150 to park within 10 minutes walking distance of DeMoss Hall. You wouldn’t have to charge anything for parking if you emphasized the benefits of the bus system for freshmen and sophomores. The system goes anywhere from the dorms to the dollar theater to anywhere on Wards Road. They could also benefit from making friends with upperclassmen who have cars on campus.
Instituting this restriction wouldn’t just benefit Liberty’s campus. It would help the rest of the Lynchburg community, as well. As a non-Liberty Lynchburg resident for a year, I would avoid Wards Road because of the ridiculous amount of traffic during the school year. By allowing only upperclassmen to have cars, you could help the city with its Wards Road congestion problem, and keep the driving maturity level a little higher, too.
The parking and driving issue is so small compared to the amount of good that Liberty does on a daily basis. But I know it decreases the morale of students, and faculty especially, when these kinds of changes are instituted. Please consider less drastic measures before bringing the morale down even more.
LU Alumna 2009
former Liberty Champion editor in chief