Opinion: Why Sunwatcher parking lot should be for Sunwatcher residents only


Colin Stevenson

The Sunwatcher parking lot surrounds the Sunwatcher Apartments, Feb. 10.

*Columns are the opinions of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wichitan as an organization.*

As a resident of Sunwatcher Village, I am well versed in the issues that plague my residential community, and resident parking is the second most common and frustrating problem Sunwatcher residents face right after the slow nature of the Office of Residence Life and Housing.

As a disclaimer, I would like to state that I do not own a car and therefore, I do not utilize MSU’s parking resources but that doesn’t mean I am not aware of the issue at hand or that I can’t speak or write on it. I have been a passenger to many Sunwatcher residents with cars and I have watched from an outsider’s perspective how the parking debacle is both frustrating and stress-inducing to those that deal with it.

From the start of my freshman year in August of 2020 until now, I have seen people cut their dinner dates and hangout sessions short, residents coming back to school hours earlier after a weekend away and a vehicular competition between two or more drivers, all to secure a Sunwatcher parking spot. Some of you may probably be thinking, “what’s wrong with coming back to campus a little earlier?” or “what’s wrong with returning home before the late hours of the night?” Well, it’s not the coming back early that is the issue, but the stress of it. Given the fact that we are college students, we should avoid any and everything that will induce stress and it is the duty of the university to make our college experience comfortable and conducive to learning.

Some questions that may arise while reading this might be, “why is finding a parking spot an issue?” or “what are the so-called problems with residential parking at Sunwatcher?” Well, the reason why residents that pay over 6,500 dollars an academic year are finding it hard to find parking spots in their own lot is that residents from other residence halls and commuters from off-campus are hijacking those spots.

Now, you are probably thinking, “what can housing do about that?” Back in October 2019, a former Wichitan reporter and Sunwatcher resident, Dariana Garza, wrote an article about how a gate at the Sunwatcher parking lots would be very useful to residents and about the possibilities of MSU bringing it back like in 2007 and I strongly agree. A gate at Sunwatcher parking lot with keycard access granted only to Sunwatcher residents and round-the-clock surveillance would greatly impact living conditions at the apartments. Although this was tried in the past and didn’t fare well, we have newer and better technologies and the lessons of the past to guide us to success.

Finally, I must address the questions of “if this was that important, why hasn’t it been brought up?” or “what is the relevance of all this?” To address the first question, this has been brought up many times over the years, evident in Garza’s article published in 2019 and by the many complaints of Sunwatcher residents to the Office of Resident Life and Housing. Due to the office’s slow-paced actions and overall incompetence, the complaints of these residents have never been acknowledged or dealt with accordingly. And in response to the question concerning relevance, as I have stated throughout this entire article, making living at Sunwatcher comfortable is conducive to the college experience. At the price residents pay to live there, we should not be feeling irrelevant and stressed in our own community.