Your guide to Southern Miss parking

Anyone who drives a car to school can say they are not fond of the parking situation on campus. However, parking is a necessary evil, and there are some important do’s and don’ts of where to park your car. Here are some tips to avoid parking fines, or worse, retrieve your car after it was towed.

First, get a parking decal. I can’t stress that enough. Some students feel they can get away with moving their cars every so often to avoid getting a ticket. I speak from personal experience that parking management will find your car and will not hesitate to ticket you for not having a decal. Just get the decal and save yourself the worry.

Next, be aware of what parking lot your car is in. Every parking area on campus is designated for specific groups. There are residential, commuter, faculty/staff, Village, handicapped and visitor parking spots, all of which require a certain decal. Signs are usually posted near that parking area to designate what vehicles with what decals can legally park there. Here’s a tip, Open Zone means any car with a valid decal is able to access that lot, but those lots are few and far between.

Know the exceptions. Students are allowed to park in faculty/staff parking areas after 5 p.m. on weekdays. However, these spaces have to be vacated by 7:30 a.m. the next morning. Metered parking spots can be your friend. Those have no decal restrictions at all. Don’t forget to fill the meters, though. You can’t get mad if you have a ticket on your car and the meter already expired.

“If you are a commuter, come early to get a parking spot,” said Matthew Snyder, a senior psychology major.

Other students might understand that there is traffic and you might have to circle a parking lot five times trying to find a spot, but the professors may not care. Some professors even count tardies as absences, and that might result in points off your grade.

Finally, read the USM Mailouts. So many people say they ignore those, but those emails are filled with useful information. One thing always published in the USM Mailouts are road and parking lot closures. Pay attention to those to avoid an even bigger parking headache.

Not everyone likes the parking situation on campus, but it’s something we all have to deal with. Follow these tips and your life on campus will be a whole lot easier.