Christian Schneider

Author, Columnist

When College Students Start to Think

University of Wisconsin campuses have a well-deserved reputation for being safe havens for liberal thought.  But at the UW-Fox Valley, something odd is happening – it appears a backlash is underway.

It all began in November, when Campus Dean Dr. James Perry suggested on his blog that the campus should have more “green” parking spaces.  Apparently, the campus has set aside certain choice parking spots for students with Priuses (Prii?) or other “low emitting and fuel efficient” (LEFEV) vehicles.  Dr. Perry suggested expanding the number of “green” spaces, to encourage more students to buy these cars, saying:

The Fox plan includes creating a sustainable a community [sic] to the best of our ability. I would hope that the number of spaces that have the ”green vehicle restriction” would actually increase, because these the vast majority of scientists support the need to reduce our global carbon emissions, not to mention reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Soon after this post went up, students caught wind of the plan to expand the green parking space program.  (You know, students – the ones who actually have to drive to campus and fight for a parking spot.) Dozens of them started posting comments, just destroying Dr. Perry’s rationale for more handicapped-style “green” spots.  Many of them pointed out the pure folly of trying to ascribe environmental sainthood to people merely because they drive a Prius.  Here are some samples:

Also, just because my hypothetical Civic GX with its ridiculous gas mileage has a higher green score, that justifies me parking closer? Am I better because of it? Hey, if I have Solar Panels on the roof of my house does that mean I get to cut in line the cafeteria? If I use only biodegradable cups, does that mean I get to register for classes before everyone else? The comment you left at the end “Not everyone at Fox has a LEFEV. Those people just need to walk a bit further.” is essentially a statement saying “Suck it up and deal with the fact that those other people are better then you.” Perhaps I should sit at the back of the bus to campus if I don’t own a Green vehicle either.

***

Ignorant can mean both. The tone of your blog implied both.

While there isn’t no Prius available for $50,000, some (myself included) live at or below poverty levels and aren’t quite in the position to cough up enough money for a new or newish car. I don’t have $22,000+ or the means to fund a new car.

I’m sure that even students that are a bit financially better off than myself aren’t quite able to buy a fuel efficient vehicle.

Thanks, though, for the snide aside. Thought you’d be more in touch with the average salary in our current political climate.

***

It defeats the purpose to provide green parking when you are in turn forcing cars who have higher emissions to drive around a lot longer searching for a parking space.

If you are looking for a way to reward those who are green, find a fair way to reward not just those who are wealthy.

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It should also be noted that the green spots are rarely full. Why should more be added? To further aggravate those who can’t park in those stalls, and never will be able to because of the inability to afford such a vehicle? Parking gets crowded at UWFox, and there is little need for these spots already. I don’t view these spots as beneficial as is, and would be quite frustrated to see even more go up.

I challenge you, Dean Perry, to do 1 thing: Count the number of green-vehicles, and count the number of non-green vehicles. The ratio doesn’t need to be counted to be known: very few to very many. Ask yourself: are more of these green spots truly necessary? The answer, I would hope, is evident.

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“I would hope that the number of spaces that have the ”green vehicle restriction” would actually increase, because these the vast majority of scientists support the need to reduce our global carbon emissions, not to mention reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Fair enough, but when people choose to live 20+ miles from where they work, it seems a little silly to reward them with a special “green” parking perk just because they can afford a newer more fuel efficient vehicle. I can probably drive a tank from where I live and leave a smaller carbon footprint than someone driving a Prius from Larsen or Winneconne.

***

How do we measure each person’s green footprint? Maybe that’s a task that we can request the campus to work on. Maybe we will only issue GREEN parking stickers to those who have the highest green footprints?

The lesson, as always, is that environmentalism is wonderful when discussed in the abstract.  It’s great for picking up girls in bars.  But it means an entirely different thing when it means having to walk your butt an extra half mile in the freezing Wisconsin cold.

1 Comment

  1. I like how the title implies that college students are dumb, and easily stray from their near-universal liberal politics when a policy may adversely affect them.
    No wait, I don’t like that. It’s rude and oversimplified. A bad idea rooted in environmentalism doesn’t mean looking out for the environment is a bad idea.

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