Having a car on campus provides a distinct advantage for students: you can go anywhere whenever you want without paying for public transportation or relying on the generosity of other students. But for many students cars are more than just a mode of transportation. Cars are part of our daily lives and represents a part of who we are. Cars also provide an escape from student life, which can sometimes be stressful and mundane. As Mette Jensen, Senior Scientist at the National Environmental Research Institute notes, “It (vehicle ownership) has a role to play not only as a means of transport but also in cultural and social life.”
Life on campus is sometimes determined by the ability to get off campus. The ability to get off campus for food can break up the monotony of the limited campus dinning options. An article by The Odyssey Online highlights the need for students to have access to a car while in college. Greenville and Travelers Rest offer many restaurants that range from fast food to very high end. There are also multiple bars downtown that allow students (who are old enough) to go and relieve some of the stresses that come with a rigorous institution like Furman. Finding time for fun is something that I have found to be essential in order to enjoy life at this school. With very little to do on campus, a car allows student to get out and experience life outside of the “Furman Bubble.”
There is however, more to owning a car on campus. The type of car you bring to campus can say a lot about where you came from, your background, your priorities, and the things you care about. Just driving around can show the wide variety of vehicles with license plates from New York to Texas to California. The cars you see on campus come in all price ranges, types, body styles, colors, and fuel types – all of which represent who you are and what makes you, you. A collection of the all of this individuality exists, displayed like some modern art gallery, all over campus. Next time you are walking to your car, look around. You might see that understanding culture on campus is just a walk in the parking lot.