It’s an annual phenomenon that not even the brightest minds at UFV can explain: for the first few weeks of September, every year, the Abbotsford campus’ parking lots become a nightmarish hellscape of inexperienced drivers trying to find somewhere to park in time for classes they’re already running late to, only to find every spot already filled. But without fail, right around the autumn equinox, the crowds thin, spaces open up, and stress levels are elevated due to overloaded schedules rather than road rage.
In an effort to combat this annual aggravation, UFV has announced a radical shift that will save students the headaches and fender benders. “Beginning in 2019, classes will begin in the last week of September, rather than the first,” wrote UFV spokesperson Clancy Limpton in a press release. “This will allow our students to avoid parking at UFV during the lots’ busy season.”
While the move is being praised by students who pay attention to UFV press releases, some have expressed concerns about what this will mean for their holiday plans.
“It’s true, delaying the start of the semester does mean that classes will run through December, with exams taking place in early January just as winter classes are beginning,” admitted Limpton, “But we knew that it was a sacrifice worth making since literally all anybody talks about during the first weeks of September is parking.”
Not every student drives, however. We caught up with economics major Florence Cole — which wasn’t easy as she sprinted all the way from the city’s bus stop to the shuttle’s — who suggested that UFV should run seperate classes on the preexisting schedule for transit-users. “We shouldn’t have to rearrange our lives around people in cars,” she said, gasping for breath as she waited for a late shuttle.
The change has been received well by the Student Union Society (SUS), who said they relished the chance to fill those extra weeks with programming of their own. In a poster released to Facebook (which also debuted their new “Everything SUS” logo directly copied from ‘90s ska band Reel Big Fish) they announced activities, workshops, and concerts for every weekday between Labour Day and the start of classes.
UFV has commented that they are not worried about SUS events creating additional demand for parking.
Biology professor Dr. Alyssa Doble said that UFV is just postponing making the real changes needed to solve the problem. “Like any other organism, this annual migration of cars is attracted by the need for sustenance,” she explained, indicating to diagrams that probably made sense to her. “And what do cars fill their bellies with? That’s right: people.”
Dr. Doble suggests that delaying the start of classes will help in the short term, but as the invasive pests realize we have shifted our schedule, so too will they. “We need to starve them, so the equation is simple. The cars won’t be filled with people if the people can’t drive the cars, and people can’t drive cars that they don’t own, so we just need to reduce car ownership. Ergo, an increase in tuition fees is required, to ensure that students face more wholly-crippling debt, and fewer can afford to drive.” She gave a slight shrug before concluding “I’m sorry if it sounds harsh. But can you think of any other way UFV could create more parking spaces?”
Image: Caleb Campbell/The Cascade