Scroll Top

Students express frustrations over priority parking

Parking Office 2

Photo by Gabriela Perez/The Olaf Messenger 

Photo caption: St. Olaf Parking Office


Social work, education, and nursing majors are eligible for priority parking, meaning they are first in line when it comes to securing a parking space on campus, especially upper hill lots such as Ytterboe, Ellingson, or Lot B near Rand Hall. They are required to have accessible means of transportation because these students must travel to various sites throughout the week for field experience as part of their major requirements. 


Students often have to leave for these site visits before sunrise, and priority parking allows them to park close to their dorm, avoiding the long, daily walk down the hill to Skoglund Athletic Center in the dark. This way they can also avoid dangerous and slippery steps when there is rain, snow, and ice. 


However, not every student who needs priority parking receives it. 


Nursing major Leo Libet ’24 was given a Skoglund parking spot instead of the requested Ytterboe Lot. “I had to talk to the Parking Office after being given Skoglund Lot. You have to advocate for yourself. The Parking Office will not do it for you,” Libet said in an interview with The Olaf Messenger.


Libet was able to successfully argue for permission to park in the Ytterboe Lot. 


Meanwhile, despite being a music education major, Emma Silvestri ’24 was denied her preferred parking spot.  


“In the summer before this school year [the summer of 2023], I applied for parking as I did every other year, though I knew I would need a general permit rather than a storage permit, since I would be using my car every day in J-Term and spring for practicum and student teaching,” Silvestri said in an email to The Olaf Messenger. “I expressed a preference for Ytterboe but my second choice was Skoglund. I know other education majors who get priority parking, so I thought I would get it too. I got a general permit for Skoglund for the whole year.” 


Students recommend that the Parking Office give out fewer permits, such as for those who do not use their car often and have a less complicated process for applying for priority parking, since students are required to fill out the online application as well as email additional materials to the Parking Office.  


When The Olaf Messenger requested an interview with Public Safety to learn more about the priority parking policy, Marketing and Communications declined to schedule an interview since Public Safety was still reviewing the parking policy for the summer sessions and the upcoming academic year. 


However, Director of Public Safety Derek Kruse emailed a comment to The Olaf Messenger, stating, “We anticipate in mid-June to have the updated policy available, which will be sent out to students when they are notified if they have been approved for a parking permit.” 


Parking permit applications for the 2024-25 academic year and summer sessions are now open until June 25. Permit applications are being accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. Commuter permits are only allowed for students residing off campus. If a medical permit is required, approval through the Disability and Access Center must be gained first. 


For the upcoming academic year, the following lots will become general student parking spaces where any student with a general permit can park: Lot J, Lot I, Skoglund, Skoglund Overflow, and Lincoln Lot.

+ posts