July 22, 2014
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Athenaeum reports on the ‘p’ word—yeah, that’s right, parking Athenaeum

Admittedly, we don’t often receive feedback when the Athenaeum newsletter hits stands across campus. While it would be nice to walk across campus to the sound of applause coming from our satisfied readers, it simply doesn’t happen. So, I have resigned myself to the notion that no news is good news. (Ironically, the value of my paycheck is based solely on the quantity and quality of RIT news.)

Today, our next issue will be in the orange distribution boxes throughout campus and in mailboxes, and I’m hoping that the cover story generates some feedback. The story is about a campus topic that we all have a vested interest in; we encounter it daily—and if you decide to run an off-campus errand during your lunch break, you’ll deal with this twice in one day—which for some is just too grim a thought to consider. Yep, parking at RIT.

I wrote the cover story for this issue, and while I was initially intimidated by the thought of tackling this sensitive subject, I felt at ease when I met with the tremendous folks in the parking and transportation office. I walked away with the belief that they really want to serve their customers. Contrary to what some RIT faculty and staff may think, the staff of the parking and transportation department isn’t going out of their way to make our drive in to campus miserable. Just the opposite, in fact. And if you want to talk with someone who understands parking inside and out—studies parking, eats, lives and breathes parking—make an appointment to visit one of the nicest guys on campus—Randy Vercauteren, director of parking and transportation.

After my interviews with the parking team, I came back to my office to write my story with a greater appreciation of what it takes to handle parking and transportation for what is essentially a small city. I was anxious to tell everyone about what I had learned. But, to my dismay, someone said to me, “I see you’ve been brainwashed!”

That’s when I realized that I had a great story in front of me. Athenaeum is all about raising awareness, whether it’s regarding research or people—or sensitive topics like parking. But more than anything, I hope this story encourages healthy dialogue among students, faculty, staff and administration. And for God’s sake, helps people to understand why it’s impossible to expect to park 10 feet away from their destination every day.

 

 
  1. Sue Provenzano
    Oct 18

    Love it, Vienna, look forward to your story!

  2. Bryan Christian
    Oct 18

    My impression of parking on this campus is that it's the worst, most mismanaged, horrendous affair at any institution ever. This makes me all the more curious to read your article and find out how I'm wrong!

  3. Angela Brodie
    Oct 18

    Hello Vienna, One thing I can tell you for certain is that there are other places (U of R) where employees have to take shuttles to work due to the fact that their parking is so far away. While it may take a few minutes to walk to your car, and in inclement weather that might not be pleasant, there is a lot to be said for adopting a "glass half-full" mentality and just enjoying a little exercise on your way to the car!

  4. Paul Stella
    Oct 18

    Great post, Vienna. And I love the cover design. Don't forget to send me a copy.

  5. Vienna Carvalho
    Oct 18

    Thanks for the comments! Bryan, that's exactly why it was important to write this story in the first place. Of course, there will always be someone who isn't happy with where they are parking, but at least we've been able to answer some questions and hear about some of the challenges that the parking and transportation department face. And of course, where they see opportunities for improvement. And I honestly mean it when I say that the people over there are so nice. I think they have a bad reputation! Read the story and let me know what you think.

    Angela -- Embedded into my Athenaeum story is a "Did you Know" box filled with some interesting facts and figures about campus parking. I was thinking about adding some information about parking on other campuses, but unfortunately, I just didn't have the space.

  6. Vienna Carvalho
    Oct 18

    Thanks for the comment, Paul! I also love the cover. Jeff Arbegast worked on the design and he really did a great job. Wait until you see the inside spread!

  7. Rich Kiley
    Oct 19

    Looking forward to reading your cover story, Vienna. As an RIT parent who has been on campus a number of times, I have found the parking relatively convenient and accessible to other campuses I have visited. To the people who work in the parking and transportation office, who probably feel it is a pretty thankless job, I'd like to say thank you for that.

  8. Vienna Carvalho
    Oct 19

    Thanks for your comment, Rich. And you're right. I think it is a pretty thankless job. But, after speaking with the people who work in the parking and transportation office, it's clear that they don't do it for the "thanks." They realize the importance of keeping this community safe and operational - first and foremost. At the same time, I'm pretty sure they don't often receive kudos for their good work. So, you should pass your comments along to them!

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