This winter has definitely taken a toll on people in Maine. With the seemingly never-ending snowstorms and overall bad weather, many Mainers are wondering when Old Man Winter will finally figure out that he’s not welcome anymore. In fact, the snow has piled up so much that removal crews everywhere are struggling to find a place to put it all. This has been making parking situations in some parking lots a challenge. And while there may not be much anyone can do about the unfortunate weather, some people on UMPI’s campus are taking a stand and protesting the lack of parking spaces.
The Folsom parking lot has become a particular source of frustration for students and staff alike. It is often a crowded area during the day, and now that there is a virtual mountain of snow taking up the back parking spaces, it has become even harder to find a place to park. Some people, however, seem to have come up with a solution to this problem. If you drive into the Folsom lot looking for a place to park, don’t be surprised if you see some vehicles comfortably parked, not in front of, but actually in, the snowbank.
Jake Flake, a student and a commuter, is one of the people taking a stand. “We’re Mainers,” he said. “We don’t let a little snow stop us. Many of us have four-wheel drive. If we can’t park around it, we’ll park in it.” Flake is a student who moved here from Antarctica about two years ago. And he has seen his fair share of snow. “Most people don’t know that there are parts of Antarctica that are inhabited by more than just penguins. There are regions that actually sometimes get sub-zero temperatures. That’s where I come from,” Flake said. He continued, “I was excited to come to Maine for school because I could live in something other than an igloo. This winter is not what I signed up for.” Flake said that is the reason he is so passionate about the protest.
And others seem to have followed Flake’s example, because there is now a small group that parks in the snowbanks in the back of the parking lot. Lily Spade, another student and fellow protester, says that it’s actually more convenient than you think. “You don’t have to worry about parking in the lines because you can’t see them. You get to literally make your own parking spot,” she said. “Also, since your vehicle will sit up higher if it’s in a snowbank, it’s easier to see where you parked when you come out of class and the lot is still full of cars.”
While no one has yet to complain about the odd parking situation, there have been some whisperings on campus about more snow removal. Some are concerned that parking in the snowbanks may not be the best solution. While it may not be a perfect option, it is definitely getting people’s attention. So next time you drive into Folsom’s parking lot looking for a free spot, look around in the back. You just might see some interesting things. And maybe you’ll be inspired, too.