Auxiliary Services News

September 29, 2014

Photo from inside shuttle bus, looking out front windshield, on rainy day

Shorter days and cooler, wetter weather means more people riding campus shuttle and SafeRide Evening Safety transport.

Here's some tips and links for getting the most from the FREE transportation services UNC Charlotte provides:

  • Familiarize yourself with the three campus shuttle routes: Yellow Rt. 47, Green Rt. 49, and Red Rt. 50. Route maps and stop lists.
  • Install the UNCC NextRide smartphone app for real-time CATS Campus Shuttle and SafeRide tracking or bookmark the website/mobile site. NextRide shows you where the buses are and provides an estimated arrival time to your stop.
  • Rt. 50 Red Line (cross-campus service from Lot 6 at John Kirk to CRI Deck) is the most heavily used, and often reaches double-row-standing capacity between 9:00 and 10:00 AM.
  • Please wait until exiting passengers have stepped off the bus before boarding. 
  • If a two-seat bench seat is open, take the one by the window so someone can sit on the aisle-side without having to ask.
  • Place backpacks on your lap or on the floor, taking care not create tripping hazards near the aisle.
  • When capacity reaches standing room, move all the way to the back of the bus, creating two rows if necessary, so there’s room for others to get on.
  • Simple courtesies and an occasional “excuse me,” and “thank you,” go a long way to making the ride more pleasant for everyone.
  • Make sure to gather all your belongings before exiting the bus. Items left on shuttles are taken to CATS Lost and Found, 704-336-5326. For items left on SafeRide vehicles, call the PaTS Call Center at 704-687-0161.
  • Get service alerts, ask questions or report problems via Twitter: follow @UNCCNextRide and/or @UNCCParking.

 


September 2, 2014

The Charlotte 49ers first home football game is this Saturday, September 6.

Game Day event parking and traffic management plan will be in full effect that day and the following Saturdays: September 27, October 25, November 8, November 15 and November 22.

Here’s what Faculty and Staff should expect:

  • The only campus entrances/exits open for general usage on game day will be the main entrance off University City Boulevard (Highway 49) and the entrance at John Kirk Drive and Van Landingham Road (see map).
  • All other entrances will be restricted to game ticket holders with Game Day parking passes. The passes direct ticket holders to where they must enter campus.
  • Faculty/Staff permits will not be valid in any parking deck or lot assigned to football event parking.
  • Reserved spaces located in game-day parking lots will also be unavailable on game days.
  • Faculty/Staff Permits will be limited to parking in East Deck 1 (if you purchased premium “gated” area access with your permit). East Deck 2, East Deck 3 and South Village Deck are available to any Faculty/Staff permit holder.
  • All other lots and decks will be reserved for football ticket holders and paid visitor parking.
  • All campus visitors should be directed to East Deck 1 or South Village Deck. Visitor rates will apply.

The campus will experience high traffic, restricted parking, and restrained movement between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on game day.

  • Allow extra time to exit or enter campus during these hours.
  • Phillips Rd. will be closed to all but emergency and service vehicles. A specific permit from Parking and Transportation Services is required for any University-owned vehicle needing access to the football complex on game day. Please call 704-687-0161 for requirements and additional information. Employees scheduled to work football events (e.g., dining staff, work crews) will be given a specific permit to park. Please contact your supervisor for details.
  • Complete Game Day parking information available here.

Parking for Football – What students need to know

  • All entrances to campus will close at 7:00 a.m. Saturday except for the Main Entrance (off University City Blvd.) and east entrance (Van Landingham Rd., off John Kirk Rd.).
  • Expect high traffic, restricted parking and restrained movement around campus from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
  • The only entrances/exits to/from campus that day will be: 1.) Main Entrance from University City Blvd. (Hwy 49) and 2.) Van Landingham Rd. and Cameron Blvd. entrances from John Kirk Rd. (see map). All other entrances will be restricted to game ticket holders with Game Day parking passes. The passes direct where ticket holders will enter campus.

Students with tickets for the game

  • You must also obtain a Game Day parking permit if you plan to tailgate or park free in a Student Tailgating Lots 5, 5A and 6 (marked White on map).
  • Students must go online to Click and Park, beginning the Tuesday prior to game day, to obtain a student tailgating permit using their student ID number as a validation code. There is no charge for a student tailgating permit.
  • Student tailgaters must use the entrance at John Kirk Dr. and Van Landingham Rd.
  • Tailgating lots will open at 8:00 a.m. on home game Saturdays.
  • When student tailgating permits are issued to capacity, students must park in East Deck 2, East Deck 3 or South Village Deck using their UNC Charlotte student parking permit.
  • Students who do not plan to tailgate also have the option to purchase a parking permit for West Deck (Purple Game Day parking) or Union Deck (Yellow Game Day Parking). These permits are limited in quantity and available through Click and Park for $15 (plus convenience fee) or you may park in the Cash Lot at Cone Deck for $20.

Students without game tickets who plan to tailgate

  • You must obtain a Game Day parking permit to tailgate in a Student Tailgating Lot (5, 5A and 6, marked White on map). Go online to Click and Park, beginning the Tuesday prior to game day, to obtain a student tailgating permit using your student ID number as a validation code. There is no charge for a student tailgating permit.
  • Student tailgaters must use the entrance at John Kirk Dr. and Van Landingham Rd. Tailgating lots will open at 8:00 a.m. on home game Saturdays.

If you're not going to the game but plan to be on campus that day, here's what you can expect:

  • The campus will experience high traffic, restricted parking, and restrained movement between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on game day. Allow extra time to exit or enter campus during these hours.
  • The only campus entrances/exits open for general usage on game day will be the main entrance off University City Blvd. (Highway 49) and the entrance at John Kirk Dr. and Van Landingham Rd. (see map).
  • Phillips Rd. will be closed to all but emergency and service vehicles.
  • Non-event parking for Visitors is limited to East Deck 1 and South Village Deck. Gates will be down and visitors must pay the normal fee ($1/half hour; $10 maximum per visit)

For those with UNC Charlotte Parking Permits:

  • C Permits will be valid only in East Decks 2 and 3. R Permits will be valid only in R Lots, including North Deck and South Village Deck.
  • Lot 25 and the upper section of Lot 6 are reserved for tailgating events.

Important Information for Resident Students

  • Vehicles parked in Lot 25 (on Cameron Blvd., across from Wallis Hall) must move their vehicles by midnight the Friday before a home game or risk being towed; tow fee is $75. Lot 25 is designated for FSL holder tailgating. Please park your vehicle in North Deck or another R lot.
  • Vehicles parked in Lot 6 must be parked in the lower bays closest to Cameron Blvd., as indicated on this map,  by midnight the Friday before a home game or risk being towed; tow fee is $75  More Football Game Day parking information here.
  • Please tell any friends/relatives who plan to visit you on home game Saturdays that they will be required to park in East Deck 1
  • Visitors parking and pay the normal visitor fee ($1/half hour: $10 maximum per visit) unless they have a Game Day prepaid permit or park in the Cash Lot at Cone Deck.

August 25, 2014

Parking demand was strong on the first day of classes and traffic on narrow campus roads had periods of being beastly. This is normal and expected... and annoying. But now that almost everyone has some kind of parking permit, picked up their books, and settled into a routine, parking patterns and traffic backups are easing.

That said, Union Deck, Lots 18 and 19, East 2 and West Decks are areas that will continue to fill up because they closest to the academic center of campus. Who doesn't want to park as close as they can? A class schedule that is heavily loaded from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm Monday - Thursday ensures that once at capacity, those areas will stay packed for several hours.

Campus parking map with high demand parking areas highlighted

If you have an 11:00 am class and don't arrive on campus until 10:30, it's wise to assume that you will not easilly find a place to park in a high-demand area. It's far more likely you'll circle a full deck and be late for class. At peak demand (based on class schedule) the average time to find a parking space in the high-demand lots and decks is 30-45 minutes.

Why not try parking in a lower-demand area like North, South Village, or CRI decks or Lot 6? Every one of those places has plenty of available parking and a shuttle stop nearby. Install the free UNCCNextRide app (available for iOS and Android) to get real-time tracking and ETA of all campus shuttle routes. Many students and staff persons have found that it's easier to park farther out and either walk or take the shuttle.

Campus parking map with lower-demand parking areas highlighed

Try it for one day and see for yourself!

Watch our short video about parking in high demand versus lower demand areas. Parking doesn't have to be ugly. But it can be funny!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTflMM-7co4&feature=youtu.be

 


August 12, 2014

Student Parking Permit purchase and pick-up

The line and wait for student permit purchase can get very long the first few days of class. It's best to order your permit online, in advance. Permits ordered online will be waiting in an express pick-up line.

Student purchase/pickup, express pick-up, and temporary permit purchase will be in the Student Union Art Gallery (first floor) Thursday August 14 - Wednesday August 20. Before and after those dates, you may purchase and pick-up your permit in Parking and Transportation Services Office

DATE LOCATION HOURS
Thu. Aug. 14 Student Union Art Gallery 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri. Aug. 15 Student Union Art Gallery 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat. Aug. 16 Student Union Art Gallery 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sun. Aug. 17 Student Union Art Gallery 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Mon. Aug. 18* Student Union Art Gallery 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue. Aug. 19 Student Union Art Gallery 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed. Aug. 20 Student Union Art Gallery 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

*Permit enforcement begins. If you do not have a permit, you must park in a visitor area.

Unable to buy a permit by the first day of class?

If you are waiting on a financial aid refund or other funds before you can purchase a permit, you may buy a temporary permit to hold you over. Price is $6 per day for as many days as you think you'll need.

Faculty and Staff permits

The parking office will be open 7:30 am-5:00 pm for faculty and staff needs only:

  • Thursday August 14
  • Friday 15
  • Monday August 18  – Wednesday August 20

49er ID Card and Meal Plans Office

Auxiliary Services Building (look for the green awning), #39 on campus map

  • Get a 49er ID Card
  • Change or purchase a meal plan
  • Add funds to card accounts (49er and ODA)
Friday August 15 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday August 16 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday August 17 CLOSED *
Monday August 18 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

* ID Office in Student Union is open. See times below.

ID Card Office

Student Union Room 127, #69 on campus map

  • Get a 49er ID Card
  • Add funds to card accounts (49er and ODA)
Friday August 15 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday August 16 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday August 17 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Monday August 18 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte Bookstore

Student Union first floor. Extended hours August 14 - 19.

Thursday August 14 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday August 15 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday August 16 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sunday August 17 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Monday August 18 7:30 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday August 19 7:30 am - 10:00 pm

 image of the UNC Charlotte planner cover Don't forget to pick up you FREE academic planner! No purchase required - just ask for one! (while they last).

Dining

Fall meal plans, both meal swipes and DB, activate at 10:30 AM, Friday, August 15.

Campus Shuttle

 

Welcome back and best of luck for a successful year.

Illustration of campus front entrance with pep talk text,


August 6, 2014

Permits

UNC Charlotte Parking Permits are required and will be enforced on the first day of class. If you have not already done so, purchasing online is the easiest way to get your permit. We’ll have it waiting for you in an express pick-up line the next morning after you order it.

Student permit purchase and pick-up will be at the Student Union first floor Art Gallery (#69 on campus map):

  • Thursday, August 14, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday, August 15, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 16, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 17, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Monday, August 18, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, August 19, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 20, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 

Discount remote parking is still available to commuters and Faculty/Staff for Lot 6A (corner of Cameron Blvd. and John Kirk Rd., served by the campus shuttle) and Lot 27 (a walk-in lot near the Harris Alumni House) until sold out.

Permit hangtags have a Radio Frequency ID (RFID) chip that will open gated areas appropriate for your permit type. You may register more than one vehicle to a permit for an additional $15 fee. • Permits are to be displayed from the rear view mirror or on the driver’s side dash in a PaTS-approved clear pouch. The entire permit must be visible. (Dash pouches are available from the PaTS office at no charge).

IF...

  • you aren't able to get your permit in advance of the first day of class, park in Visitor Parking at the Union Deck, Cone Deck, East Deck 1, South Village Deck or CRI Deck. Upon request, you will be given a voucher for one (1) hour of parking when you purchase your permit. 
  • you’re waiting for a financial aid refund or otherwise need to wait to buy a permit, PaTS will be selling temporary permits for $6 per day at the permit purchase/pick-up stations in the Student Union from August 14-20. You may buy temporary daily permits for as many days as you think you’ll need. Please note that temporary daily permits do not allow access to gated areas.

Parking Changes

  • Parking gates in all gated lots and decks will remain closed from 5:00 a.m. Monday continuously through 10:00 p.m. on Friday evening, except during holidays when the University is closed.
  • Union Deck lower level, North Deck, and Lot 8 are now gated and restricted by permit type.
  • As of August 18, the Parking and Transportation Services Call Center is open from 5:00 a.m. on Monday continuously through 10:00 p.m. Friday evening to answer any parking or transportation related concerns: 704-687-0161.
  • Single and multi-space meters are enforced 24 hours per day, seven days per week, except during holidays when the University is closed.
  • All visitor decks are now automated. Keep your entrance ticket with you and pay at the pay station before returning to your vehicle. This allows traffic to flow smoothly in the exit lanes.

Parking Tips

  • Typically, the first two weeks of fall semester is when parking demand is exceptionally high, particularly at Union Deck. Plan for it by either arriving before 8:00 a.m., or parking in a lot toward the margins of campus and taking the Shuttle into the campus core.
  • Expect parking demand (and campus traffic circulation) to be especially high the first three days of class. That's because nearly EVERYONE (and their parents) will be on campus conducting business, buying books and parking permits, and going to class.
  • If you don't have a permit by the first day of class, you will not be permitted to park in student lots and decks. You will be directed to visitor parking at East 1, Cone, Union, CRI or South Village decks.
  • Peak parking demand will occur Monday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (based on class schedule). Expect decks and lots closest to the center of campus to fill up quickly and early.
  • Have a plan in mind for an alternative parking area if your first choice is full when you arrive. Parking map.
  • Circling filled parking areas makes traffic flow worse. Lot 6 (on Cameron Blvd. near John Kirk Rd.), North Deck, CRI Deck, and South Village Deck are lesser-used and are served by the Campus Shuttle.
  • Hang in there! By the third week of classes, parking demand eases.

 Traffic Tips:

  • Peak traffic times are 7:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ­– 6:00 p.m.
  • If leaving campus between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., avoid exiting to John Kirk Drive by way of Van Landingham Rd. near Fretwell. Try using Mary Alexander Rd. to Mallard Creek Church Rd. or the bottom level of East Deck 2 that exits to University City Blvd. (N.C. 49 South).
  • If arriving on campus between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., avoid the John Kirk Drive Entrance at Van Landingham Rd. near the Circle K station. Enter campus by using Cameron Blvd., the Front Entrance off of University City Blvd. (N.C. 49), Mary Alexander Rd., or the bottom level of East Deck 2 from University City Blvd. (N.C. 49 South).
  • Pedestrians have the right of way on all crosswalks on campus unless there is a traffic signal, which takes precedence. The traffic circle at Mary Alexander and Van Landingham Roads is controlled by a traffic signal, which must be obeyed by both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • Follow @unccparking on Twitter. PaTS uses Twitter to instantly inform you of detours, delays and other relevant information. For those who don’t use Twitter, the same information is fed directly to the parking website and appears near the top of the home page.

A comprehensive guide to Everything You Need to Know About Parking and Transportation is available as a printer-friendly PDF.
 
For specific inquiries and concerns, the Parking and Transportation Services website has a contact form or you may email unccpark@uncc.edu directly. Or call the PaTS call center, 704-687-0161, open continuously each week from 5:00 a.m. Monday through 10:00 p.m. Friday, beginning Monday, August 18.
 
 

Meme - photo from Game of Thrones -

Questions? Call the PaTS Call Center, 704-687-0161 or mention @unccparking on Twitter.


July 30, 2014

Photo of South Village Crossing

South Village Crossing, UNC Charlotte’s new, two-story, 56,146-square-foot dining and gathering facility, will not be open in time for August move-in as originally planned.

“Unfortunately, we’re behind schedule,” said Keith Wassum, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services, “and it’s important that South Village Crossing not open until everything is completely ready.”

That means more than having finished walls and floors. “South Village Crossing is different that anything we’ve ever had at UNC Charlotte,” said Wassum. “The combination of state-of-the-art kitchen equipment and building systems, green building features, and site considerations, has added a significant level of complexity to the project.”

Features of the facility include:

  • An expansive dining hall where all food production is visible and meals are customizable;
  • Action cooking stations featuring Evo and Teppanyaki griddles and gas-fired hearth ovens;
  • Observable campus bakery operations;
  • Take-out counter and market;
  • Late night diner (“The Den” by Denny’s);
  • Seasonal dining porch and outdoor terraces;
  • Inviting lounge areas with fireplaces;
  • A large multi-purpose room with instructional AV technology.

“South Village Crossing will deliver a new concept in campus dining with all food production occurring in front of customers,” said Wassum, “and we don’t want to open until the facility is fully operational and staff are trained on the new equipment and systems.”

That date has yet to be determined but is expected to be by mid-October. Until then, the former RDH cafeteria will be put back into use, adding a few more weeks to its four decades of service to campus.

“A certain amount of delay is to be expected in a building this complex,” said Drew Averitt, Business Services Facility Planner. “But believe me,” he added, “it will be worth the wait.”

----

Follow additional updates

Twitter icon@unccaux

Facebook icon Auxiliary Services at UNC Charlotte

photo credit: Patrick Wisniewski


July 25, 2014

The North-facing staircase in West Deck (closest to SAC and Woodward) will close Monday, July 28 and will remain closed for two weeks to repair cracking that is weakening the stability of the stairs.

Closing of this stairway will particularly affect users of West Deck because of the Belk Gym renovation project.

  • Figure 1: Arrangements have been made with the contractor to leave open the access bridge from Level 3 to the SAC (this access bridge is on the North-facing side of the deck).
  • Figure 2: You will also be able to exit from Level 4 (via the open  staircase on the South side) and detour around Belk Gym, but this is a pretty long detour.

Map showing affected areas of West Deck

PaTS is quite sorry for the inconvenience but it is necessary to address the problem as quickly as possible.

For questions, please contact Nancy Smith, nmsmith@uncc.edu or mention @unccparking on Twitter.

 

 


June 24, 2014

CRI Deck 1 and South Village Deck have both received a 2014 Award of Merit in the International Parking Association Awards of Excellence Competition. This is an International competition open to entries from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and South America.

CRI Deck 1

CRI Deck1 has 1,347 parking spaces and provides parking near academic and research buildings on the west side of campus for students, faculty and visitors. Additionally, CRI Deck 1 provides parking for events at Jerry Richardson Stadium and connects to that facility with an attractively landscaped connecting pedestrian walkway. The seven-level deck was designed with induction lighting, white stained ceilings, integrated bicycle lockers, RFID operated gates, visitor parking with two pay-on-foot kiosks, and a large bus pull-off area.

CRI Deck 1 is rectangular in shape and utilizes a cast-in-place concrete structure with precast exterior designed to match the University’s signature ‘Morrocroft Red’ brick. It was planned with future use in mind, too. The deck is pre-wired to accommodate electric vehicle chargers and will be ready to serve a proposed conference center.

photo of CRI Deck 1

South Village Deck

South Village Parking Deck is an integral part of a major residential redevelopment. With a capacity of 1,247 vehicles, the deck serves over 2,000 students who live in nearby residence halls, along with faculty, staff and visitors. The deck was designed with automated vehicle identification (AVI) for contract parking as well as pay-on-foot and pay-in-lane for visitor parking. The cast-in-place structure requires little active maintenance and is also designed with a precast exterior to match the University’s brick standard. Features include, high-performance concrete, induction lighting, white stained ceilings, waterproofing systems, wash-down water supply and bicycle lockers. South Village Deck is also prewired to accommodate electric vehicle chargers in the future. The deck’s four-bay design provides efficiency and operational flexibility with smooth traffic flow for entrance and exit. South Village Deck has a continuous single-run staircase oriented towards the residential village. It feels grand and open but more importantly, creates a safer environment for pedestrians.

photo of South Village Deck


June 18, 2014

Photo of South Village Deck

It's that time of year when incoming students suffer shock when they find out the cost of a parking permit at UNC Charlotte. It's true, permits are expensive!

If there's any good news about permit prices, it's this: for academic year 2014-2015 there was no increase. It's been years since that's happened.

So, why does it cost so much to park on campus?

  • State funding is not used to pay for parking facilities;
  • Tuition dollars do not supplement parking;
  • Collected citation fines cannot supplement construction or maintenance of parking facilities;
  • Therefore, parking has to be self-supporting which is done through the sale of permits to those who wish to use parking facilities on campus.

What do Permit fees pay for?

Almost all of it goes toward design and construction new parking decks, maintenance and debt service (paying back construction bonds) of existing decks/lots, with a small percentage going toward traffic control staffing and support of the CATS Campus Shuttle.

The primary factor that determines permit price: cost of new deck construction and replacing flat lots with decks.

It’s expensive to design, construct and maintain new parking decks necessary to accommodate enrollment and demand. Existing surface lots make way for new buildings and residence halls; those spaces must be replaced with decks. Decks are far better use of land than paving large swaths of acreage, but they cost a lot more to erect and maintain. In the past 10 years, UNC Charlotte has had to build five of them: East Deck III (2003), Union Deck (2006), North Deck (2011), CRI Deck I (2012), and South Village Deck (2013).

  • Permit prices are determined by how much will be needed to support a ten-year financial plan that will pay for parking that accommodates enrollment increases.
  • Business Services and the University make every effort to keep permit price increases in line with what’s needed to sustain current and planned parking facilities.

Other factors include:

  • loss of parking lots to new building (academic and housing);
  • cost of infrastructure: emergency blue lights, utility lines, cameras, etc.

If these were the only factors considered, rates would actually be much higher. The financial impact on students, faculty and staff is taken into account, too. Prices are kept as low as fiscal responsibility will allow.

Lot versus deck cost breakdown:

Design and contruction costs for surface lots

  • $2,000-$3,000 (per space, depending on land condition)

Design and construction costs for parking decks

  • Up to $14,000 (per space)
  • Maintenance per space per year: typically 3 times the cost to maintain a surface parking space

Are there cheaper on-campus parking alternatives?

YES! There are two discount permit lots available on the margins of campus available to Commuters and Faculty/Staff.

  • Lot 6A (at John Kirk and Cameron) permits are $340 per academic year. This lot is served by the Campus Shuttle Red Line Rt. 50
  • Lot 27 (on Alumni Way near Harris Alumni House) permits are $210 per academic year. This is a walk-in lot not served by the Campus Shuttle; however, a Yellow Line Rt. 47 shuttle stop is about 2/10 mile walk east on Alumni Way near South Village Deck.

For Commuters who have class schedules just two days a week

  • Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday permits are available per semester. Price is $165. Two-day combinations other than M/W T/Th are available also. Just inquire at the Parking and Transportation Services office and a permit for the appropriate days will be created for you.

For more information about parking permits and where each permit allows you to park, see the permit info page. Complete information about parking on the UNC Charlotte can be found in the "Everything About Parking and Transportations Services" guide on our website. You may also benefit by following @unccparking on Twitter. News and changes in parking are posted there and we answer questions, too.


June 11, 2014

As the great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Four years and a bachelor’s degree later I have found this to be absolutely true. One moment I was checking into Wallis Hall for SOAR and the next, listening for my name to walk across that stage.

Now I have begun my graduate school journey at UNC Charlotte and am working as a Marketing Communications Intern for Business and Auxiliary Services. In just the first week I have learned things that I wish I had known as an undergraduate. There were services I missed; little things that would have been good to know! So, please let me spare you this regret. While maybe not as profound as Obi Wan Kenobi bestowing knowledge of the Force upon Luke Skywalker, I do hope you'll find the following tips helpful.

Tip #1. Oh hey, ODA!

I would always see signs and a few things that would mention the term ODA but really had no idea what it meant. ODA means “Optional Dining Account” and it’s like a prepaid account for food. You (or someone who is benevolently subsiding your education) can place a deposit in this account for you to use at any campus dining location. Here's why it's awesome: this is a great account for students who commute and can't bear the thought of giving up their parking space to go get a meal, and for those whose class schedule is such that they eat on campus a just a few times a week. Anything you don't spend from you ODA account rolls over to subsequent semesters, as long as you're enrolled.

ODA is also great for on-campus residents. If/when the declining balance (DB) portion of your meal plan runs out (this happened to me many times) ODA can supplement your meal plan. How cool is that?! You wont' be deprived of enjoying Chick-fil-A, Bojangle's or Salsarita's goodness.  And for deposits of $300 or $500, you’ll receive some free meal swipes good at Crown Commons and the brand new SoVi at South Village Crossing. But wait! There’s more! You will also get GreenBack reward dollars for every $100 you add to ODA. Smaller amounts can be deposited to ODA also, as little as $10.

Tip #2 “Hey Mom and Dad, I am kinda low on cash...so…”

What happens when you run out of money when you're down to your last pair of clean underwear or have a 20 page paper to print? That's when the 49er Account is your friend. Money can be deposited on your 49er Account (which, like ODA and your meal plan, resides on the 49er IDCard) to spend like a pre-paid debit account for campus goods and services such as: pay-for-print printers in the library and labs, laundry machines, Barnes & Noble at UNC Charlotte bookstore, vending machines, Campus Salon, NinerTech store, all the dining locations, convenience stores and concessions. 49er Account offers instant online deposits, and is good for budgeting since the account can't be overdrawn, doesn't incur fees and doesn't expire. You can deposit money on your account in increments as small as $5. Your parents/ benevolent supporters can add money to the account, too. All that's needed is your 800 number and last name when they go to make a deposit online. (http://cms71.uncc.edu)

Tip #3 -  “Here’s the mail, it never fails…”

Usually during your time at UNC Charlotte moving becomes an annual event. Whether it's from one residence hall to another, from on-campus to on-campus, or off-campus to somewhere else off-campus, your address will change again and again! But did you know that you can maintain a consistent mailing address with a campus mail box from Mail and Package Services? You can! Campus mailboxes are private and conveniently located in either Prospector building or the Student Union. And they're cheap: a 6 Month lease is $25 total; a 12 Month lease is only $46. Even better, here's a coupon for $10 off your first lease.

Tip #4 - “Take a look...it’s in a book…”

I love books and even more so bookstores. What was that? Oh, what’s a book? Well kids, long ago we needed to read bound papers of information; sometimes we even read them for fun! Now that you're in college, you are going to get very acquainted with textbooks. Trust me on this, you'll need them and it will save you a lot of time and angst if you get them before classes start.

Barnes and Noble at UNC Charlotte is the official campus bookstore and located in the Student Union. You can conveniently order your books online, automatically choosing from your class schedule in 49er Express. The selection of 49er gear is the largest anywhere, so maybe even add some 49er apparel to that virtual sharing cart. One thing about the bookstore that many students don’t know is that Barnes and Noble will 100% price match textbooks to other local retailers. This can add to your savings and makes a convenient central location for you to purchase or rent your books. There are also eBook options.

Tip #5 -  Forward to the Future!

You have so much to look forward to. The campus is growing at a rapid pace and one of the most exciting areas of growth is on the South side where the new South Village Crossing opens this fall. This amazing new dining/gathering complex is going to offer all kinds of food. SoVi dining will feature:

  • an Asian station with a Teppanyaki grill (Japanese-style iron griddle),
  • a Euro station with two Evo grills (round cook tops that offer a healthy cooking method and social interaction with the chef),
  • an Italian area that will serve pasta, pizza and other favorites from two gas-fired ovens,
  • a deli with hearth oven for toasted sandwiches and melts,
  • an extensive salad bar where proteins can be ordered custom made and sizzling hot to top your leafy greens, and
  • more choices than ever available for vegans, vegetarians and those with certain dietary preferences

SoVi will also have plentiful seating, and a seasonal dining terrace that will overlook Davis Lake. On the upper level you'll find:i

  • SoVi2Go - a take-out area where meal swipes can be used for carry-out dining
  • a bakery with visible operations and a confections counter
  • "The Den," a a concept by Denny's with late night service
  • comfortable student lounges with three-sided fireplaces and big TV screens
  • a multi-use meeting/class room with AV

Plan to explore this beautiful new facility no matter where you are on campus! You can get a ride over to South Village on the CATS Campus Shuttle, or later in the evening, SafeRide can transport you there if you don't want to walk. (I'm glad I'm sticking around here for grad school so I can enjoy it!)

So please, future 49ers, know what's available and fully use the services that are provided for you. It's stuff you need that supports the bigger purpose of why you're here: to get an education and prepare for your future.

And, as John Keating said in Dead Poets Society, "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."

– Patrick Wisniewski

Photo of Patrick Wisniewski

Patrick Wisniewski is spending the summer as Marketing Communications Intern for Business Services. After committing to memory every word in the Auxiliary Services Information Guide, he will be developing new media content for the 49erCard and Meal Plans, reprographics, Mail & Package Services, and Parking and Transportation Services.