ALESTLE VIEW: ‘Parking lottery’ should be parking permit sale

Every year, students receive a number of emails regarding opportunities to enter a lottery in which winners can buy a new parking permit in certain lots. While the lottery was originally intended to incentivize students to get vaccinated, the system needs tweaking. 


The numerous emails about another lottery drawing students have received indicate that not all of the winners want a new permit or at least, don’t want to purchase one. The answer is simple: there should be a first-come, first-serve parking permit sale. That way, those who are willing to pay for a new permit can do so without having to wait to see if they won, and the process of picking winners can be done away with altogether. It’s not necessary to create a prize system if the winners have to pay full price anyway. 


While the emails did explicitly state that winners would have to pay full price, the lottery flipped from offering free permits as prizes to requiring winners to pay. 


Originally, an email was sent out in August with the subject, “Free Green Parking Pass? Enter to Win by Friday!” Subsequent emails regarding the lotteries stated that winners would receive further instructions as to how to purchase their permits. While it’s not necessarily bad to change the platform, and it’s not the university’s fault if students don’t read their emails carefully enough, clarifying that the prize that was initially offered as free must now be purchased would have alleviated any possible confusion. 


Although having a lottery as incentive for students to submit proof of being vaccinated against COVID-19 wasn’t a bad idea, a true incentive would have been the opportunity to win discounted parking permits. If parking services doesn’t want to outright sell green permits to students, and instead wishes to use a lottery with entries, then the winners of said lottery should get the permits at eithers a reduced price, or no price at all. 


Furthermore, the rules of the lottery state that students must select if they’d like a permit for Lot A or E. Then, if they aren’t selected, they may sign up for either the Bluff Hall or Evergreen Hall lottery. If each lot has open spaces, why not just let people purchase permits outright according to their needs? Why require them to wait to see if they’re selected for Lot A or E before allowing them to enter a lottery for Bluff Hall or Evergreen Hall? 


Making the process a lottery is unnecessarily complicated when it could be a simple sale. To save confusion, time and hassle, just let students purchase available permits on a first-come, first-serve basis. That way, those who want a permit badly enough will pay (and get to select the lot they actually want), and those who don’t won’t bother. If the university really wants to use a parking lottery as an incentive for students to get vaccinated, they should offer reduced priced or free permits.  


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