Most universities do not permit students to have cars on campus until their sophomore year. The main reason for this is space. For instance, if at Penn State (population 50,000+) every student had a car on campus, there would be no room to move. There are some good reasons, other than space, as to why cars are not allowed on campus.
With underage drinking on the rise, it is scary to have anyone under the influence on the roads, especially in an overcrowded college town. College students are now in an environment where the only person that can tell them “no” is themselves. Feeling the need to fit in, “no” is never uttered out of a newbie’s mouth, and it makes it difficult in making the right decisions. The experimentation or what I like to call “learning their limits,” is a scary cause and effect.
Most students consume well over their tolerance. The only way to “sober up” is by waiting it out and dealing with the sometimes painful hangover the following day. Some aren’t so lucky. There have been numerous occurrences of alcohol poisoning, death or accidents caused by this type of binge drinking. We have all been through it before. We drink a bit too much, we get the spins, and then we fall down, rolling around in our own vomit saying that we will never drink again. However, what usually happens after we recover? We drink some more, but we learned our limit. “I will never drink that much again!”
This is what happens to plenty of freshmen. There are no responsibilities other than school, maybe a part time job and practice if you are a student athlete. This is one of the underlining factors on why freshmen cannot bring cars onto campus. Could you imagine if one of them got behind a wheel? It’s a thousand times safer to have them use their own feet to get around rather than a 3,000 pound hunk of steel. Universities realize this and make it a strict policy.
After scaring the wits out of parents, let me bring it down a notch. Not all freshmen go crazy and binge drink, but the influence is there and most students are smart enough to call it quits and only a small few will overstep their boundaries. Universities also believe that if the freshman have no cars, then they can’t leave, forcing them to interact with other students and to walk around campus and get a feel for the college setting, where buildings are, etc. Most universities are surrounded by stores in walking distance that meet every students needs, from food to entertainment. It’s common for universities to provide a bus or shuttle service for free or low cost all over the college town.
The only reason freshman students may need a car on campus is for special needs purposes. If you fall within this category, then go to your campus police/parking office and let them know your situation. Some will oblige without you having to do anything, but most will make you provide proof and a payment, which is an added stress a freshman student could do without.
By: Jon Kalnas