Parking, dining projects aim to improve student life

Student Government (SG) has a list of upcoming projects – including take-out dining, e-Book rentals and new parking garage mirrors – all of which will hopefully improve students’ lives at the University of Miami.

Students can take surveys about their interest in the take-out dining and e-Book rental programs on SG’s Facebook page.

If implemented, the take-out dining system would give students with a meal plan the opportunity to take food from the Hecht-Stanford and Mahoney-Pearson dining halls in a “grab-and-go” fashion.

“Sometimes eating in my room is more convenient,” freshman Maxwell Collie said. “But because you can’t take food from the dining hall, I’m forced to get less healthy food from the food court.”

While SG Press Secretary Michael Piacentino admitted that making this transformation mid-year is “logistically problematic;” options are being explored for next semester as well as next year.

The e-Book rental program would allow students to rent e-Books, much like those available on, from Richter Library.

These would be accessible via digital download through a compatible e-Reader for a specified period of time.

Results from the two surveys will be used to determine the next steps that SG will take.

The third project is the installation of mirrors in the Mahoney-Pearson parking garage in conjunction with the Department of Parking and Transportation.

These mirrors are intended to allow drivers to see around corners and other blind spots.

“People tend to speed around them without knowing who might be coming, which could be very dangerous,” sophomore Samantha Belabin said.

However, many people feel that based on their experiences with the mirrors in Pavia and Ponce parking garages, the new mirrors could be ineffective.

“It’s not like I look up at the mirrors before I turn,” said sophomore Isel Perez, a commuter student who parks in Ponce. “I don’t think they’re very well-positioned.”

SG is also working to remedy the identified issues with the new parking system initiated at the beginning of the fall semester, Piacentino said.

The Department of Parking and Transportation is currently reevaluating the system based on student feedback.

Another project SG and the Department of Parking and Transportation are working on is providing shuttles to Dadeland Station and Dadeland Mall.

This will benefit students that previously needed to take the Metrorail to get to Target, BestBuy and the mall itself.

The second SG Comes to U event will be held on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Hecht Faculty Master’s Apartment.

The topic will be information technology (IT) and students will get the chance to dicuss their concerns with UM’s chief information officer, Steve Cawley, project manager Lindsey George and other IT staffers.

“We have definitely noticed that there has been some issues on campus in terms of it, so that’s an issue we hope you address,” Piacentino said. “We hope to hear student suggestions and feedback and also have administrators from it hear directly from students to use their services.”

Renovations to the University Center are also underway, with a goal of creating spirited student lounges in mind.

“The building in the middle of campus is an obvious place to start,” Piacentino said.

New furniture, tiles, carpeting and decorative waves with the orange and green theme have been installed in order to “Spirit the U,” but functionality has also been addressed.

Additions like the new information desk and TV sets are being funded by the Student Activity Center fee, which is also going toward the construction of the future Student Center.

“It’s a lot more exciting,” junior Allison Basham said. “I love the color and the couches. I sometimes come here instead of the library. It’s much more comfortable.”

October 23, 2011


Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.

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