By Christopher Acree–

The city of Louisville has a history of long-distance travel. It was here that Lewis and Clark met with several other members of the Corps of Discovery before traveling across the Louisiana territory to save Princess Leia from Voldemort on Mount Doom (I’m not a big history guy).

And much in the tradition of those intrepid explorers, a large amount of students at U of L also go long distances for learning and bettering themselves.

According to U of L’s website, more than 6,000 students live in the university’s dorms and affiliated housing facilities, but there’s still another class of student—one that may not live in a dorm room or anywhere near campus. One that instead is so driven to learn and better themselves that every day for class they saddle up like the explorers of America’s past and embark on a journey to campus.

One of the main issues these students run into? Parking.

Since no one can park within 10 miles of campus without spending $400, going to school on any given day is a serious commitment for those who don’t live directly near U of L. Do you sell an organ to get a parking pass? Do you take the shuttle from the stadium even though it would be faster to take a horse-drawn carriage? Or park several blocks away and hike through miles of concrete wilderness?

Commuting can even be problematic for students who aren’t in the suburban outland. Sophomore communication major Lacee Crail lives in an apartment complex a few minutes from campus and even she has problems getting to school.

“Driving to campus is not a problem—it’s the parking issue,” Crail said. “There is never anywhere to park in the middle of the day, and it makes it hard. It has caused me to not attend certain events because there is no parking, and I only plan to stay 30 minutes, so I choose not to go. Also you can attend for small amount of time because the parking issue just doesn’t seem worth it.”

Living off campus can cause students to miss important campus events which could have an impact on their lives in any number of ways.

A perfect case in point is the recent forums about possible tuition increases, which are being held on Fridays or Mondays in the early afternoon at noon or 1 p.m. This would be a crappy time for college students of any type to be anywhere, let alone pay attention and have a thoughtful discussion about an issue. If they aren’t working or in class (a lot of both happens in the early afternoon), they’re sleeping off hangovers or just sleeping because what God-fearing college student would be up at that hour unless they absolutely had to?

And in terms of discussing the budget and tuition, what’s the point? Students will be ignored and tuition will be set to whatever the powers-that-be feel like.

Junior communication major Daniel Crush is planning for the future, living with his parents in Hikes Point and saving up money to buy a house after he finishes up at U of L—something a lot of college graduates don’t even own. He says that while living with his parents gives him the opportunity to save money and have a hot meal every night (the envy of every student in an apartment subsisting on ramen noodles and various condiments), he can miss out on some of the good aspects of college life.

“It can be hard because my friends may decide to go out, and I need to tell them to wait so I can meet them,” Crush said. “I may also miss an extra credit assignment here or there because I don’t want to make a second trip to campus.”

More or less, students, faculty, and administration alike should take into consideration the large amount of students who travel long distances for the opportunity to attend U of L, rather than pushing them aside as they have in the past.