Name: Jennifer Burt
Southern Utah University introduced its new parking program Wednesday, when SUU President Michael Benson presented a new Utah license plate reading “Pres13” with the SUU logo to Cedar City’s Mayor Gerald Sherratt, who in the past, served as SUU’s 13th president. The new program, offering free campus parking to anyone with an SUU license plate, is Benson’s latest effort to increase University support, while also improving the campus experience for SUU students, faculty, staff and visitors.
In detail, the program rewards those who show their Thunderbird spirit by purchasing an official SUU license plate through the Department of Motor Vehicles. These specialty plates, which are $25 more than the standard Ski Utah or Arches license plates, then serve as a free parking pass, granting access to every parking lot on the Southern Utah campus (excluding those parking spaces designated as parking for the disabled).
According to Benson, “Aside from benefitting the University community, this program can also impact SUU’s future—we want to get SUU all over Utah. We have a great school, and the more people hear about us, the more students we can continue to attract to SUU’s unique academic opportunities.” Benson envisions cars along I-15 and throughout the state with the SUU logo, and hopes this increased exposure will translate into increased enrollment and University support.
And indeed, the benefits of an SUU license plate will extend beyond the immediate campus community. No other permits will be required of those with SUU license plates, so visitors, alumni, and friends of the University are just as welcome as the campus community to open, free parking spaces anytime they find themselves on the SUU campus.
In addition to increasing public awareness of the University, the new license plate program will also increase educational opportunities for current and prospective SUU students. As with all special collection license plates, the additional money from sales does not stay with the DMV. Instead, that money is redistributed back to the affiliate organization. At SUU, the proceeds from license plate sales will primarily benefit the school’s general scholarship fund.
The license plate program will take immediate effect, and President Benson hopes to see an increase in drivers with SUU license plates as soon as the upcoming fall semester.
Through its more than 100-year history, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training school into its current role as a comprehensive, regional university to more than 7,000 students from across the globe. It serves the southern region of Utah and contiguous counties in surrounding states with undergraduate and graduate programs in six colleges. People of the region look to the University for outreach services, culture, economic and business development, higher learning, regional history, public affairs, major academic specialties, and significant entertainment and recreation. Accentuated by the notable, economic value of its services, SUU's hallmark is its quality staff, faculty and academics.
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