Parking Wars: Should You Sleep, Stalk, or Swoop?

It’s like the Hunger Games out there. Try these parking strategies at our on-campus lots.

By: Korryn Sanchez

Parking lots have turned into war zones where social conduct rules have been thrown out the window like a CD from the dashboard during a sharp turn. It’s a dog-eat-dog world that has bred new strategies to survive.

Cal State Fullerton is known for a couple of things: a good baseball team and horrible parking. Whether you are parking in Eastside, College Park, State College, Nutwood or the A and G lots, you’ve got to get creative.

According to the CSU facts book for 2018, the CSUF campus body population is more than 40,000 students. The iFullerton app says there are just under 7,250 parking spots available on campus with an extra 550 off-campus parking spots.

Captain Willey of the University Police Department likes to talk about how Parking and Transportation Services is aware of the parking problem on campus and the parking culture.

“I work with and know the Parking and Transportation Services leadership team and I can assure you that they care very much for our students,” Willey said. “They are doing everything they can to make strides in continuously improving the parking situation on campus, and that is no small task.”

Even though CSUF Parking is doing everything they can, it clearly is not enough.

Parking lots have turned into war zones where social conduct rules have been thrown out the window like a CD from the dashboard during a sharp turn. It’s a dog-eat-dog world that has bred new strategies to survive.

Tusk magazine spent time observing the parking culture on campus and found that students use one of three different strategies to snag those sweet, sweet spots: They sleep, stalk, or swoop.

Sleepers

The idea of being a sleeper is simple: Wake up earlier in order to rest later.

Ruby Abutaleb is a fourth-year computer science major with a minor in art.

“I come early to get a parking spot since my first class doesn’t start until 10 a.m. and no one is leaving at that time,” Abutaleb said. “I don’t mind though. Between classes my friends and I get our homework done during our gaps.”

Students like Abutaleb use the strategy of sleeping or relaxing in their cars before their classes start to avoid the stress of coming to campus when there are no parking spots available.

Sleepers will typically arrive to campus between 7 and 8 a.m. and stay on campus the duration of their school day so they do not have to deal with the stress of the parking situation a second time.

Senior Eric Alcantar, a communications major, explains his strategy as an easier way to find parking.

“I get to campus early and sesh,” Alcantar said. “Then I knock out in my car until it’s time for class. It’s honestly the ideal strategy,”

Stalkers

Stalkers are the students who line up near the elevator exits of the parking structure. They prey on students walking out of buildings.

They slowly crawl up to the bumper to the first car they see pulling out.

The usual “Hey! Are you leaving?” echoes through the parking lots more than students complaining about homework.

Victoria Kim is a public relations major at Cal State Fullerton and usually parks in the Eastside parking structure. Kim has adapted her parking strategies to the trends of each semester.

She used to be a Sleeper, but she has found that a change in strategy has benefited her more.

“I definitely got to campus early. Especially in my first three years,” Kim said. “I’m in my last year now and I specifically take later classes. I come to campus and follow people to their cars so I can get their parking spots.”

Swoopers

Swoopers are like line cutters. They get somewhere with the expectation that they’ll be served right away, even though it may inconvenience someone who was waiting longer.

They plan their attack on calculated risk.

Alejandro Sanchez is a senior public relations major who commutes to campus all five days of the week.

“I find swooping to be the best technique. You just kind of sync your schedule with when you know people will be getting out of class,” Sanchez said.

“Usually on the hour and at the half hours — I literally create my class schedules like that. I know this is not going to always work but it’s the best option I have,” he said.

Swooping is based on luck. Sometimes the spot is there but other times you circle around the lot like a dog chasing its tail.

Students who have later classes are more often Swoopers. They head to campus just before their classes start and hope to find someone leaving right away.

They don’t come early in order to wait in line, and they aren’t looking to play fair.

All is fair in love and war, but not in finding a parking space.

 

Swoop, stalk, or sleep at these CSUF parking lots

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