A new parking initiative at UC Riverside will provide free parking to guests attending no-cost and selected low-cost events. Above, student employees Shelley Gao and Andre Cuevas hand out a permit in Lot 24.Photo by Kim Huynh
“UC Riverside is a hub of education, arts and culture, and we want the community to feel welcome to engage in these activities,” Wilcox said. “This new program responds to requests from both the community and event organizers by providing easier, affordable access to the campus.”
“The real benefit of the program comes in the increased engagement it provides with the surrounding community,” said Greg Artman, director of Plant Administration who oversees Transportation and Parking Services. “Both Chancellor Wilcox and Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost Rabenstein have expressed a deep-seated desire that the campus be open and welcoming to our visitors.”
The program supports the UCR Strategic Plan, which encourages fostering a “rich campus culture of engagement by partnering with our diverse community.” It also falls under the guidelines of the Master Plan for Higher Education in California, which states that while state funds cannot be used to provide parking for faculty, staff, and students at CSU and UC campuses, they can use resources to provide ancillary parking for guests and affiliates in support of the university’s mission.
Artman said that the program will help visitors to campus “people see the university as an entity that not only wants to serve its community, but is a vital part of it.”
“I think that when we charge for parking for these types of events, we generally leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths. We’re labeled as being ‘bureaucratic’ or ‘only interested in the money,’” he added. “I believe that this program will help change these perceptions and that people will see that campus leadership really wants them to come and experience what we have to offer.”
That sentiment was echoed by Event Services Manager Debbie Manlongat.
“Success of the program will be measured by an increased number of events and attendee,” she said. “We hope that UCR departments will host more events on campus and that we will experience an increased vitality.”
The program has quietly been run in a pilot phase with free parking being offered at more than a dozen events in the months of January and February 2014.
Transportation and Parking Services student worker Briana Villalobos hands out a permit in Lot 13. Photo by Kim Huynh
“Both School of Medicine and Athletics have held events under the initiative,” said Kim Huyhn, event parking coordinator in Transportation and Parking Services. “Based on positive feedback from both departments, we feel it will be very successful.”
Artman gave kudos to both Manlongat and Huynh for their work at making the program a reality.
“Debbie and Kim have been magnificent in putting the feet to this idea and in figuring out how we can make this happen from a practical standpoint,” he said. “They have demonstrated a willingness to think outside the box and come up with some practical ways to implement the program.”
Artman said that program will create no additional administrative or financial burden on UCR departments, colleges or administrative units. As in the past, departments will determine parking and other service requirements and submit their requests to Transportation and Parking Services, which will proactively review events to determine if they are eligible for the program.
To be eligible, events must be free of charge or very low cost and fall into one of the following categories:
Colloquia, symposia, lectures;
Student recruitment and outreach programs;
Student organization / club meetings and events;
Cultural and public service events and gatherings.
The program carries an additional recommendation that organizations that host events where there is a parking charge include the parking fee within the larger event fee when possible.