Daemen College: A world of contradictions

For years, Daemen has proudly advertised itself as an “ecofriendly school.” As an environmental advocate, I am proud to attend a school where students use reusable containers instead of Styrofoam ones. I am proud to attend a school where recycling bins are around essentially every corner. Daemen even has an environmental club which does fantastic things such as construct an eco-trail and apply signage near outside storm drains to make passersby’s aware that dumping waste into these drains is illegal. Again, I am proud to attend a college where most of the staff takes concern about the environment. However, one thing bothers me.

As I drove into the Business parking lot on the first day of this semester, I noticed some construction going on. My curiosity led me to go check it out and here is what I discovered: the creation of a new parking lot. So this is why we are paying $35 now for a parking pass. Yes, I’ll admit to being frustrated when having to park across the street and driving around in circles in hopes of finding a spot…but why a new parking lot? Is it because Daemen officials have gotten one too many complaints about the parking? It is understandable that parking is quite the issue, and this new lot will be a great attempt at fixing the issue, but did anyone from our “eco-friendly” school consider the effects a new parking lot might have on our environment?

The construction of a new parking lot is a process. For starters, trees were torn down for this new lot. Habitats that were once thriving in that little spot in Amherst are gone now. Also, a new parking lot means dust. Dust means pollution. Pollution harms the health of not only animals, but of humans around the area too.

Most importantly, I believe Daemen College should be doing something else. How can we promote our students and even staff to not drive their cars? First, an increase of shuttles is needed. If the shuttle system included more stops, enhanced its promotion, and reached out to commuter students, there would be less worry to have more parking spots available.

Secondly, Daemen does not promote biking very well. Although there are bike-racks outside of Wick and the Business Building, those are essentially the only spots where racks can be found. If there were more racks, say, near the apartments or outside of Canavan Hall, perhaps students would be more encouraged to ride their bikes to class, to work, et cetera. The location of the bike-racks is important.

Kelly Ferreira, a Resident Assistant in Canavan Hall says, “I have some residents who lug their bikes all the way up to their rooms. It’s a bother to bring a bike all the way down and all the way back up—if there were bike racks available for them, I believe more students would have bikes and the ones who already do own bikes would be encouraged to use them more.”

That said, I hope to encourage students to walk, ride their bikes, and carpool to class. Yes, the new parking lot will take a lot of stress off of Daemen Students, but was it worth the toll on the environment?