Sewell Park access should be open to students only

Opinions Columnist | Journalism senior

Posted at every entrance of Sewell Park is a sign that says “Sewell Park is for use by Texas State students, faculty and staff only.” While it is clear to all that the intention is for only Texas State students to use the park outside of special events, Sewell Park is constantly flooded with children and non-Texas State families. Officials should enforce the rule that Sewell Park is intended to be used exclusively by Texas State students, faculty and staff.

Other rules listed at the entrance of Sewell Park include “no alcohol” and “no pets.” I have witnessed both of these rules being strictly enforced while the fact that many children and families that do not go to Texas State are using the park is completely overlooked. It is extremely frustrating to me, when I am trying to relax at what is supposed to be a Texas State student’s oasis, when there are children jumping around, screaming and splashing me. Often, their parents are nowhere to be seen. If I wanted to spend my time in this type of environment, I would go to one of the many public parks along the river, such as Rio Vista.

Even more distracting was when I was taking a dance class in Jowers. We were doing our warm-up exercises in Sewell, and I noticed a small child running along the edge of the water. I could not take my eyes off of her because I was worried she was going to fall in, while I should have been focusing on my professor. Her parents? Sitting on a bench, not paying attention.

While Sewell is mainly used for relaxation and recreation, it is sometimes utilized by classes. It would be the ideal place for a professor to lead class outside the classroom if the rule that Sewell is only for Texas State use were actually enforced.

One particular altercation could have been prevented with the enforcement of the “students and faculty only” rule: the widely reported fight between two Sewell Park staples, Frisbee Dan and The Sun God, which resulted in the ban of The Sun God—though technically neither of them should have been authorized to use the park in the first place because they are neither Texas State students nor staff. While they are both generally amusing and enjoyable to be around, once they started causing problems, it should have been a wake-up call to administration to enforce their rule.

In many ways, the students at Texas State work very hard to build a positive relationship with the community with programs like Bobcat Build in place, in which thousands of Texas State students do free manual labor for the residents of San Marcos, giving back to the San Marcos community. What this issue comes down to is that sharing the park just kills the vibe for the college students. Maybe that sounds selfish, but through our tuition we are the ones paying for it to be the beautiful sanctuary that it is.