Everyone should be able to have access to Sewell Park

Opinions Columnist | Journalism senior

A rule at Sewell Park states that only faculty and students of the university are allowed to use the park. However, with the lack of authority at the park to enforce this rule, the rule is completely ignored. Why have a rule in place if no one is going to enforce it? The rule should be removed, and the general public should be able to continue to enjoy the park.

Properly enforcing the rule is simply too hard to do considering the fact that there is not a security guard of some sort at the official entrance of the park. Even if there were security guards at the entrance, they would have to stand there and check to see if every person walking in was an actual student or faculty member. Then the issue arises that people usually do not have their IDs when they go to the river, not to mention that there are different entrances people can use to bypass the non-existent security guards.

The university would have to hire multiple security guards to cover every entrance into Sewell Park and even some to roam the park to make sure that no one snuck past them. Having to hire security guards would mean more expenses for the university that could be used to alleviate the parking dilemma rather than making sure the park stays exclusive to the university.

Not only will members of the community be forced to find other places to enjoy their free time, the Outdoor Center would lose out on revenue received from renting equipment to those who are not members of the university. For the most part, students want to simply lay on the hill and enjoy the sunshine. Granted, some students would like to canoe or rent out a volleyball, but a portion of the revenue the Outdoor Center generates comes from non-university students who want to utilize the amenities that they have to offer.

Even though the rule clearly does not drive families away, ditching the rule altogether would build a better connection between the university and the community. Removing the rule shows that the university is inviting the community of San Marcos to enjoy the beauty that San Marcos is known for and promotes an all-around better morale for the quickly growing city.

It is understandable that students could be upset by the removal of the mostly useless rule. It would mean that Sewell Park would be open to all residents of San Marcos and that families with small children will enjoy taking a swim. Nevertheless, that is not a good enough reason. Students need to realize that there are more than just college students living here and parts of the city have to be shared.

Eliminating the rule from the park is not a major change to the university and does not require rebranding, but it would be great for the image of the university and would help shape the university for a bright future in the constantly growing City of San Marcos.