OPINION: Promising parking reform and sustainability is hypocritical


Ella Hanley

The SGA presidential campaigns at App State are in full swing. Candidates met for a debate Feb. 10, and topics ranged from dining prices to engaging students more effectively. A popular topic of discussion was the expansion of parking spots and permits on campus in the coming years. While not mentioned in the debate, sustainability on campus is on the agenda for some of the candidates. Both parking reformation and sustainability are significant issues on campus that should be addressed, but it’s hypocritical to have them both on the same platform.

Two senators from SGA, Connor Ranes and Ben Negin, recently announced their candidacy for president and vice president respectively. Their platform includes diversity on campus, sustainability and mental health. Ranes especially emphasized the importance of sustainability on our campus, saying “Climate change is something that affects each and every one of us, and so it’s really important to … be as sustainable as we can as a campus.” But while promoting sustainability the Ranes/Negin campaign contradicted itself when it followed up with a push for an increase in parking spots for students on campus.

With more parking spots in Boone, there will ultimately be more cars. An increase in motor vehicles leads to more carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which directly contributes to global warming. To put it more simply: there’s no such thing as “free” parking. 

Ranes has been a senator since 2020 and was involved in the passing of a bill, which aimed to “move up App State’s climate neutrality to 2025.” It’s clear he’s passionate about sustainability and climate change. However, with the proposed increase of parking spots and carbon emissions, it’s a lot less likely we’ll be able to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2025.

Ranes’ and Negin’s idea of including more charging stations for electric vehicles is a nice nod to sustainability. However, it falls flat. Unfortunately, the majority of car owners in America, and especially in Boone, are operating on gasoline instead of electricity. It would be a waste of money to focus on charging stations.

Transportation and the generation of steam heat make up 28% and 26% of App State’s total carbon footprint, respectively. With these numbers in mind, how could an increase in parking aim to lower these numbers? With more cars, we’re increasing the level of transportation in Boone.

The Ranes/Negin campaign isn’t the only one with parking reformation on its platform, but they are the only ones who chose to combine it with sustainability. While parking at App State remains a huge concern, it’s hypocritical to campaign for both sustainability and an increase in spots on the same ticket. The last thing we need is an increase in carbon emissions  with the global warming crisis only becoming more of a prevalent issue.