Before this past weekend, Palm Beach Atlantic junior and commuter student Ashley Anderson was focused on one thing: studying for finals.
However, for the first time in many years, Palm Beach County’s waterfront party, SunFest, coincided with finals week, and students found parking a nearly impossible feat.
“On Sunday when I came to the library, I was searching for parking and the commuter lot was full so I had to park by the intramural fields,” Anderson said. “And on Friday night, when I was leaving campus and going to my car, there was a bunch of drunken smoking around my car when I was trying to leave. It was really inconvenient.”
A statement issued by Dr. Mary Ann Searle, Vice President for Student Development, apologized for the inconvenience, saying, “On behalf of the University, I apologize that students were not notified in advance of our plans to accommodate SunFest Parking.”
Along with the apology, Searle explained that the university’s decision was based on giving student athletes the opportunity to raise money for summer missions trips.
“The SunFest Parking fundraiser generated a little more than $8,000 this weekend for the Summer 2009 Missions Teams,” Searle wrote.
Complaints were also fielded by Safety and Security regarding “several alcohol-related incidents by SunFest participants,” Searle said. “The Athletics Department and Safety & Security advised the participants that they could not drink on PBA property. On Saturday and Sunday, the Safety & Security Department added staff members and concentrated their patrol efforts on the SunFest Parking areas.”
Searle stated that over the weekend there were five calls made to Safety and Security by students for escorts, and 152 “calls for service.”
Searle encouraged students to contact Bob White, Director for Athletics, with any comments or suggestions on how the SunFest Parking fundraiser may be improved.
Students were also shocked to hear fireworks on the evening before the first day of finals.
“I thought Jesus was coming. I had no idea there were going to be fireworks,” said PBA senior Adam Cloninger. “It caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting them.”
Anderson hopes that in the future, PBA will “give students some forewarning because I had no idea that parking would be taken up for SunFest.”