The Gustavian Weekly

Living in the Gustavus Bubble | The Gustavian Weekly

By Zainab Ferrer - Opinion Columnist | October 16, 2015 | Opinion

In many of the red parking permit lots students have a hard time finding a spot close to the residential hall they live in.

In many of the red parking permit lots students have a hard time finding a spot close to the residential hall they live in.

The Gustavus bubble is real. Without buses, subways, or any other way of public transportation, carless Gusties are trapped on campus. Part of this problem is that 83 percent of the student population comes from within the state, and so the Campus Services are designed to cater to the majority of the students, in this case, Minnesotans.

That being said, as campus safety states, 1029  students have purchased parking permits this year, proving that a significant portion of the student body owns a car, allowing them to leave campus and explore if they wish to do so on the weekends.

But what about that 17 percent of out-of-state students? What about the international students who’ve flown across the globe to attend Gustavus? For some of us, it is our first time in the United States, are we expected to purchase a car in order to see beyond the miniscule town of St. Peter?

Providing transportation would be beneficial not only at a personal and social level, but also career wise, making better-rounded, independent Gusties.

I apologize for the great deal of questions picking at your brain right now, but this transportation thing is becoming an issue that may not have been as evident in previous years. As Gustavian diversity grows, it is definitely something that the College should take a look at.

This year we’ve had the largest number of incoming freshmen international students, and after talking to many of them about this issue, they feel the exact same thing: trapped.

A couple of days ago I was hanging out with a senior who, of course, doesn’t have a car, and she said she couldn’t “wait to get out of this place” because she was lacking freedom to try new things, and get more ‘crazy’ college experiences, that didn’t necessarily occur on-campus.

Students want to go to the Mall of America to buy their winter clothes, or grab Sushi in Mankato to try something different from the cafeteria. But honestly, not being able to move around, just makes one feel like a little kid, asking mommy to please drive you somewhere, if  you have a friend that might do you the favor.

Fortunately, there is the Land to Air express and Taxi service, but those can realistically only be used for emergency situations or to go to the airport on holidays. On a college student budget, we can’t afford to pay a $25 cab fair to Mankato or a $50+ round trip to the Twin Cities.

Trying to expand our horizons and learn about our surroundings outside of the tiny town of St. Peter isn’t too much to ask for. But truth be told, without four wheels, these simple activities, which most locals might do on the weekend, become impossible.

Not only is this an issue which disregards the Gustie minority, but it limits crucial experiences which are educational, and should be part of the college experience and independence.

Yes, the events on campus are great, and the feeling of a small community comforts us all. Nevertheless, in an 11,000 population town, with only a couple of coffee shops, a bar, a few little restaurants, and no entertainment, what can we do for a change, to try new things?

What about the international students who’ve flown across the globe to attend Gustavus? For some of us, it is our first time in the United States, are we expected to purchase a car in order to see beyond the miniscule town of St. Peter?

After months of school, everything becomes repetitive; the dive, Saturday night at Lund, the movies. Let me point out that I’m not bashing the school nor these events, because they are good events, but after doing something a few times, anything becomes monotonous and uninteresting.

That being said, Gustavus does offer transportation to big events such as “The Little Mermaid” but it does not do it enough. These events occur every few weeks, and take students to an event and right back to campus. Most times, students stay together, and don’t get that sense of freedom I was talking about earlier. It’s like they take “The Bubble” with them.

This year we’ve had the largest number of incoming freshmen international students…they feel the exact same thing: trapped.

This is why, if the school would be able to implement a bus system, similar to the Gus Bus, which only students could use to be taken to the cities, even if it’s twice a week, then this would open a lot of doors to travel outside of “The Bubble”. Having a chance to explore, and get an insight of what great opportunities and diversity the metropolis has to offer.

Now, when I use the words “explore” I don’t necessarily mean hiking around, going to the movies and visiting the aquarium, although that would also be fun, but rather something as important as networking, getting internships, and perhaps even working, allowing us to get a sense of “the real world”.

Whether it’s making a deal with Land To Air or even Grayhound, providing support for students to get more life experience and knowledge of the Minnesota landmarks should be affordable for this private college.
Providing transportation would be beneficial not only at a personal and social level, but also career wise, making better-rounded, independent Gusties. So what are we waiting for, let’s get out there and get ourselves some Gustavian wheels!