Better parking would improve Health Services
The Habif Health and Wellness Center’s move from Umrath Hall on main campus to its new location on the South 40 in the bottom of Dardick House has seen lots of improvements for students. Yet the move has also inconvenienced students who do not live on the 40 and need to drive to get to their appointments. While driving is inconvenient in itself, the worst part is the parking situation on the 40, which causes extra frustration to students who have already been inconvenienced by the move and could easily be remedied.
The improvements to Health Services generally have been beneficial to students. The extra space in the facility has created a nicer environment for students and the new online appointment scheduling is incredibly convenient and accessible. The center’s Web site provides lots of useful information about what type of services or treatment students should seek for different problems and provides links that allow students to easily make appointments. This online system of scheduling appointments also allows students to print out most of the paperwork they might need to fill out ahead of time, making the process as convenient and easy as possible.
Because the new space in Dardick and new policies of the Habif Health and Wellness Center have provided real tangible benefits to students, the fact that some students now to have to drive to Health Services is not the criticism Student Life wishes to raise. The benefits of the new location seem to outweigh this extra hassle. But, because the new location is inconvenient to a sizable portion of the student body, Wash. U. should take steps to ease the burden on students. Allowing students to drive to Health Services by having metered parking near the building is a start, but the problem with this system is that when appointments run long, meters run out and students get ticketed. It is not practical for students to run out in the middle of their appointments and feed the meters. The result is that if there are delays of any kind, tickets are often a price to pay for off-campus students who need to go to Health Services.
While appealing tickets is possible and students may get exceptions in this case, going through the appeals process takes extra effort that students need not waste. Student Life recommends that when students schedule appointments, Health Services also allows them to request parking permits. There are several ways to ensure students do not abuse the passes. The first would be to have the pass clearly labeled with the date of the appointment, and to avoid students signing up for appointments to get parking passes and then canceling, Health Services can send e-mails with links to parking passes sometime before the appointment but after the cancellation deadline or allow students to get some kind of parking pass to put on their car right before their appointment.
Though the failure to provide parking passes is no major far-reaching failure of Health Services, it is still a very real problem for students who do not live on the 40. Because students already pay so much money for Health Services through mandatory health insurance fees, all students should be able to take advantage of these services. And while, for the most part, Health Services has done a great job with its expansion, working out the issue of parking passes would be a nice way to ensure that the benefits of Health Services are easily accessible to all students.
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