Keeping freshmen car free

Freshmen may have been disappointed to find out that UVM’s parking permit policy restricts any student who has been on campus for less than two semesters from obtaining a parking permit.While many in the class of 2013 may argue that this policy is unfair, we, as former car-less freshmen, can illuminate the benefits of not having a car that may not be clearly stated in UVM’s policy.First, without cars, students become familiar with the vibrant campus.In walking to classes, freshmen get to explore the many University facilities, not to mention they get to see where the best places to read, play Frisbee or watch the sunset are.They may come across students engaged in activities that they enjoy and meet new friends.In addition, without cars, freshmen are unable to drive drunk.  Although many students received adequate education on drinking practices and drunk driving in high school, the college drinking atmosphere is different, and freshmen should get used to it before cars are thrown into the equation. Furthermore, one of the most valuable de facto lessons passed down to freshmen is that it is indeed possible and enjoyable to live in this community car free.Many students come from cities all over the country that are less conducive to walking, biking or longboarding.  UVM opens their eyes to these healthy and fun alternatives that may change their perceptions forever.Students often think that just because cars seem easier, they’re better. But think of all the exercise you get walking around to all your classes.  Think of the extra hours you would have to spend in the gym if you’d been sitting on your butt in a car.Not to mention that the streets in Burlington, and especially around campus, are some of the most confusing on the East Coast.  The time you’d save driving is lost waiting at long lights and meandering through one-way streets and no-left-turn intersections.Lastly, parking permits cost $330 per year.  Add that to the cost of gas and maintenence and your spending hundreds of extra dollars on an unnecessary luxury.As if college isn’t expensive enough, why pay more to let your car rust in the Gutterson parking lot while you walk from one dorm to the next?Sure, the no parking permit policy for freshmen has benefits for the town of Burlington — less traffic congestion, less pollution — but it also  benefits our freshman students.