DU offers raffle prizes to faculty to open parking for students

By Cory Lesniak

April 2, 2014

These days, it seems that finding a good parking spot on campus, or finding one at all, is as rare as winning the lottery; it’s a one in a million shot.

Since the beginning of the spring semester, the parking garage has closed six times. In order to ease the parking congestion on the main campus, the administration has decided to turn the parking problem into a raffle.

The raffle, which is open only to faculty and staff, was created to entice employees to help fight the congestion that builds up on campus. For the remainder of the semester, if a staff or faculty member parks their vehicle at the Priory campus and takes the shuttle to the main campus on a Wednesday, they are eligible to earn a ticket to enter in a raffle to win one of three prizes.

“We tried to create a way to encourage faculty and staff to park at the Priory so students didn’t have to circle around looking for parking, so they could go to class on time,” Amy McCormack, senior vice president for finance and administration, said.

When the raffle is drawn at the end of the semester, the first, second and third place winners will receive free parking passes for the 2014-2015 academic year. The first place winner will also receive $250 and the second place winner will receive $100.

For the time being, it seems the incentive has made an impact on the parking dilemma. The parking garage has not closed since the raffle was initiated, with over 20 faculty and staff members participating every Wednesday.

The idea, however, of making students eligible for the raffle has not been talked about.

“We would have to think about something different from what were doing now,” McCormack said. “We wouldn’t know [whether] the students who come through the front door actually parked at Priory or live at Priory and park there already.”

Parking at Dominican has been a problem for years but has grown this year as the university has taken in their largest freshmen class to date. The parking garage and west parking lot have around 830 available spaces. The east parking lot offers around 235 spaces to non-resident students between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, the east parking lot is the location where main campus resident students park their vehicles.

Unfortunately, the side streets in River Forest around Dominican do not offer much relief either.

According to River Forest Deputy Police Chief James O’Shea, if students choose to park on the neighborhood streets, they should exercise extreme caution. Some streets have parking restrictions during the daytime hours.

“Always look at the surrounding signs on the streets as they vary with parking,” O’Shea said.