Parking sessions

University Parking rebrands and makes virtual permits reality

Zoë LeDuc, Writer

Only two years ago, all registration and citations were done on paper. Last year the virtual permit system and passport app was introduced, and now with NEIU parking in its second year of new technology, the parking is completely virtual.

University Parking is looking to increase customer service through educational sessions and technology. These sessions are part of University Parking’s rebranding.  The focus is to inform students, faculty, and staff on the virtual campus parking experience through education sessions with the parking staff members.

Sarator Whitehead is the campus-parking manager and an NEIU alumna. She said the goal is to increase customer service with a navigational tool that is accessible to everyone on campus.

With the system being relatively new, there was a present disconnect between the campus community and the parking technology, which then inspired the education sessions.

License plate recognition or LPR is a big part of that. This allows ticket agents to check plates instead of using a window sticker or physical permit. The virtual parking account allows customers to see citations online and in real time in addition to being able to register their vehicles.

“I’d like to have people coming in for education, not because they’re upset,” Whitehead said. “Customer service drives the technology.”

Whitehead said she hopes that these education sessions will reduce the number of citations and problems with online registration, which would ultimately improve customer service. Connecting with the students, faculty, and staff is essential to University Parking and also allows for concerns to be addressed and changes to be implemented promptly.

The education sessions allow anyone on campus to come and receive information about the NEIU parking system. In these sessions, a parking staff member can answer questions on registering a vehicle, citations, and anything regarding parking on campus.

These sessions can also be held over the phone in order to further accommodate users who may not be on campus during the parking office’s hours of operation. Departments and groups are encouraged to request education sessions as well. The education sessions are at no cost because they are another way to provide quality customer service to patrons who utilize university parking.

The emphasis is on the ease of use for the customers. “We want this to fit the students and staff, not the other way around,” Whitehead said.

The virtual parking system can be accessed through a patron’s NEIUport or through the parking page under the University Life tab at