After winter break, students at Texas A&M Kingsville-University stepping back onto campus arrived to a belated Christmas gift: the university’s collection of potholes, many of which had resembled amateur sinkholes, had been remedied. Regarding an issue that was close to students and their vehicles, the staff of The South Texan sought to discuss the repair work, and the problems that preceded it.
Prior to the fix, traveling over pavement on campus was frustrating in more than one direction. Roads ill-prepared for transport not only made a drive around campus unpleasant, but also bore the risk of damaging one’s vehicle. Editor-in-Chief Crystal Zamarron notes, “I do not personally have a car, but I’ve driven with friends that curse at the holes while driving. They get angry and they know the holes will ruin their tires. That just adds to their bill, besides college tuition.”
Photographer Veronica Cepeda agrees, noting, “If you ask any driver, they’ll tell you it’s a major problem here at A&M Kingsville.” Aside from interrupting a favorite song while you drive, Cepeda observes that potholes send a sinking feeling, right through the chassis of one’s vehicle. “When walking around campus, we are able to see them up close and how deep they are, but you really get to feel them when you’re driving and you hear the ‘thump’ noise at the bottom of your car.”
Kaitlin Ruiz, managing editor, nods at that estimation. “As a commuter student, I shell out as many minutes on the road as I do in the day’s classes. When I’m not hugging the lean shoulders of my daily route, my concern often switched from finding a parking spot on campus, to avoiding pits. In past semesters, resting my car in the lot of Manning Hall was like an attempt to avoid open manholes; the situation was not only frustrating, but hazardous each time my car lurched out of yet another warren.”
The badly damaged roads insulted the fees that students pay in the expectation of a maintained campus. Voicing the frustration that had belonged to many TAMUK students at the time, Raul Altamirano, chief reporter, offered his observations on the past state of the pavement. “It must be very disheartening for any student, faculty, or staff member that is required to have to purchase a $100 parking permit…What’s even more disheartening is that supposedly, the money that is put into parking permits goes back to the upkeep and maintenance of the campus roads.”
Reporter Samuel Galindo reiterates that concern. “As a college student who is struggling to make ends meet, the last thing I or any of my peers need is to come up with money that we don’t have to pay for vehicle repairs brought about by these dangerous holes in the ground.”
Angel Castillo, photographer for The South Texan, comments that if four-wheel drive wasn’t secure on the roads, neither were the students that glide on smaller sets of wheels. “I myself don’t have a vehicle, but when I ride around on my skateboard I notice all the various potholes around campus. They’re an annoyance to those with vehicles, and it makes the roads look beaten and broken. “
Angela Garza, photographer for the South Texan, wryly throws in that the depth of the potholes might have been underestimated, even by those who complained most ardently. “I don’t think what we have at TAMUK can even be considered potholes anymore. They’re so deep; they are practically entrances to another dimension.”
“Every time I run over one, it’s like I’m concussed again—and I can say that with confidence, because I’ve already got three under my belt,” she adds.
The repair work has not only assuaged concerns, but has also elicited thanks from TAMUK students. According to Cepeda, it represents a listening ear on the university’s part.
“Thankfully, they have listened to our concerns and acted upon the issue,” she observes. “Now that these have been addressed, there is gratitude; it is something positive that was done, and one less thing we have to worry about.”
Zamarron repeats this sense of gratitude. “After hearing a strong and long arguments throughout the campus about the potholes, I’m glad to hear the sounds of relief from students and their worries settled for their vehicles…My friends are happy to know that their cars are safe and they don’t have to worry any longer.”
Ruiz adds that seeing pavement on the mend “is encouraging…as what impacts my time at the university is being remedied.”
It is an attention to both the concerns and safety of TAMUK students—something that Castillo can appreciate. “Now that the potholes have been filled, it makes it easier to drive down the street, and students and faculty don’t have to worry about avoiding them. Even when I do skate down the street, I can rest assured that I won’t fly off of my skateboard.”
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