Letter to the editor: On-campus transportation


by Danny Gilfanov, Special to the Simpsonian

Dear Simpsonian Editor,

Sometimes I wish that getting around campus would be easier. I may be biased in saying that on account of living in Lambda Chi Alpha. On some days, though, the nearly half-mile walk to class seems long, boring and unnecessary.

Now, I’m fully aware of the Bird scooters that recently arrived in Indianola. They’re everywhere, from parks, schools, playgrounds and parking lots. I guess they’re a decent way to get around until you factor in the costs of using them. There was an occasion when I found myself bored one day and decided to test-ride one. Upon finishing, I realized that five dollars were wasted on a 10-minute ride. So much for being economical.

Maybe I could bring my bike along with me. I would still be active while being able to go to class much faster. But you also need to factor in that the weather and bike theft are two critical factors that keep me from taking this option. While I enjoy nice, quaint rides on my cruiser-style bicycle, the unfortunate part is that weather can sometimes be a major hindrance, as well as the people who would potentially try to steal the bicycle. Let’s also be honest and say if someone really wants to steal my bicycle, then there’s a very good chance they’re going to find a way and take it. Along with a lack of space indoors to store it, we’re left with a bit of a catch-22 situation. Yes, I could use my bike, but at a large risk.

Maybe I could drive to classes every morning, a relatively viable option if the number of commuter students shrank. There’s never a weekday when the Simpson visitor parking lots aren’t full and when Buxton Street and Clinton Avenue are constantly lined with cars, trucks, SUVs, and other automobiles. This means the parking situation puts driving to class at a clear disadvantage, in addition to money spent on gas. 

Because commuter students aren’t paying for room and board, gas is much less of a problem to them than full-time students like myself. In this case, the driving and gas costs will increase over time, creating a financial burden.

We’re left with walking to class as the only free and optimal option. Of course, walking allows you to be outdoors, allows you to get some exercise, and is a good way to destress if you need to before one of your classes. Even then, that also comes with its own risks. People suffering from physical ailments may not be able to walk so much. Adverse weather, such as below-freezing cold or excessive heat, can lead to problems such as frostbite or heat stroke, respectively. Major weather events such as thunderstorms or blizzards can also add to the obvious danger. Call me whiny, a dreamer, or whatever you want, but there has to be a better way around these problems.

At this point, I’m more prone to brainstorming solutions to these problems, no matter how odd or unrealistic. Maybe during fair-weather days, campus security could offer students rides with their golf carts and UTVs. Many students would even be willing to pay money for a service like this, especially if it means more time in the day for them to prepare for classes or other events. We could even invest in a few old postal trucks and renovate them to use around the campus for transportation. Maybe Simpson could start a bike or scooter share program of its own—letting students pay a fee throughout or during the beginning of the year to have unlimited usage of scooters or bicycles provided for them.

Unfortunately, these ideas will probably never be a reality. The fact of the matter is that Simpson is a small college; we’re not as big as schools like Iowa State, where buses are a major asset in getting to and from class. The administration probably has no intention of investing in a system of golf carts or small buses to get to and from classes; it wouldn’t make sense with our class sizes. I guess we can keep dreaming until then. If it ever happens in the first place. It’s just something to think about.


Danny Gilfanov, Class of 2025