It was mid-August when Fairfield University senior Alexandria Hein heard the news.  She was hired as a newsroom intern at Fox News in New York City.  After a month of anticipation, she landed an internship at a top news corporation.  Today, she is still happy with the internship, but not with Fairfield University.  One small, yet important aspect of internships in New York City is arriving to the train on time.  For Hein, parking at the train station has been a constant and stressful problem ever since she began at Fox News in early September because there is no parking for students.

“Fairfield University has always pushed and sometimes required internships for classes and, not to mention, constantly brag about our close proximity to New York City, yet provides for no parking for students at the train station,” said Hein.  That’s right; Fairfield University stresses the importance of internships, yet provides no means for the students to park at the Metro North station.

“Every spot is taken when I arrive to the train station, even though I wake up an hour early, so I have to park at the Tombo Hibachi & Tiki Lounge,” she said.  However, as of Thursday, the management at Tombo Hibachi & Tiki Lounge banned Hein from parking in their lot, citing private property concerns.  At risk of missing her train, Hein had to frantically call her friends to move her car.  With over nine weeks left in the semester at that time, she had to deal with this problem 18 more times, since she works twice a week in New York City.

As for getting a parking pass for the train parking lot, not only is the wait more than five years, but also it would not be worth the money for Hein to buy a pass.  Additionally, there are a small number of available spots for six dollars a day, but Hein would have to wake up an extra hour earlier to get one of those.  Hein is a college senior who works at an internship, is the news editor of her college paper and must fit school work in somewhere.  It is definitely not worth it for Hein to lose four hours of sleep each week for the six dollar spots.

So what are her other options?  She could always wake up one of her five other house mates to drive her each morning, which wouldn’t be too appreciated.  An even better idea, Hein could walk the two miles from her house to the Metro North station, in high heels.  However, there is always the Fairfield Cab Company, which is open 24 hours and only costs seven dollars from Hein’s beach on Fairfield Beach Road to the Fairfield Metro-North station.  That seven dollar cab ride is strikingly similar to the cost of the six dollars parking spots at the train station.

However, Hein has had many unpleasant experiences with the Fairfield Cab Company.  She missed the ferry to her hometown of Massapequa in Long Island, NY because the cab driver was 15 minutes late.  Relying on Fairfield Cab is not worth the risk at such a high profile internship.

If the above options are not realistic, than what can Hein do?  More importantly, what can Fairfield University do?  A simple option would be for the university to buy a block of parking spots at the Metro North station to accommodate its students with internships in the city.  Students could pay the university and be chosen on a first come, first serve basis or a lottery system, which Fairfield is especially known for.

In response to suggestions that the University buy parking spaces at the train station, Dean of Students Thomas Pellegrino commented that it would be unlikely that the university would be able to buy the said parking spaces.

“I do recognize the issue…It is extremely difficult to secure a space given the wait list and high demand for spaces.  Even then, it would presumably be only one space,” said Pellegrino.

In the end, there are very few options for Hein, save for relaying on Fairfield Cab or her roommates.  Since, she cannot park at Tombo Hibachi & Tiki Lounge as of Thursday, driving her car to the train station will be increasingly risky.  All that Hein can do now is hope that her roommates don’t mind getting up when the sun rises.

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