Grace Smith

Cars drive across the Iowa Avenue bridge in Iowa City on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.

Point/Counterpoint: Should you bring a car to campus?

Opinions Editor Sophia Meador and Opinions Contributor Abby Gaugler debate on whether students should bring a car to campus.

September 6, 2022


Let’s be honest — a car is convenient to have as a student.

Whether it’s a day trip to Coral Ridge Mall or a weekend adventure across state lines, there is a world of sights and activities beyond Iowa City, many of which can’t be easily accessed by foot or public transportation.

In fall 2020, almost half of the freshman class admitted to the UI were out-of-state students. With a car, those students would be able to go home to see family, friends, and significant others at will. Those without cars usually only left Iowa City for holidays and breaks.

For those with kitchens or without meal plans, buying groceries can get expensive — especially inside the city. A car would give these students the ability to travel to a grocery store that doesn’t upcharge because of location.

Having access to a vehicle can expand your horizons for opportunities as well.

Every year, more than 7,000 students are employed through UI. However, settling for a low-paying on-campus job is not for everyone. A car gives students the ability to find employment or internships that fit their wants and needs outside of campus.

A car may be able to save you money in the long run, despite the cost of gas.

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Bringing a car to the University of Iowa campus is nothing short of a headache.

The UI campus is not equipped for vehicles. Anyone with a car on campus knows the nightmare of parking in Iowa City. Parking garages are sparse, street parking is limited, and parking enforcement officers are everywhere.

Fortunately, there are alternative modes of transportation on campus.

The Cambus and NiteRide services make getting around Iowa City easy. Considering the high price tag of tuition, you might as well get your money’s worth with Cambus trips.

The Iowa City Transit is another reliable mode of transportation. The bus can take you off campus to popular locations like the Coral Ridge and Sycamore malls at a low cost.

If you don’t want to rely solely on public transportation, biking is a great option. Many streets in Iowa City have bike lanes allowing for safe travel on two wheels. This alternative is not only cheaper, but it’s also the more environmentally friendly option. Plus, biking can also help you avoid the infamous freshmen 15.

Cars are also expensive. The average cost for one gallon of gas in Iowa is $3.45 — that’s more than I spend on food each day. You also easily rack up purchases by using campus lots and garages.

While a car is convenient, it is unnecessary. Cars are expensive and a pain to park. You are better off hitching rides from your friends with cars.

Save yourself the struggle, and leave your car at home.

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