By JARED GOOCH
Getting a parking ticket is something that most people don’t enjoy. However, a new program was recently developed to help turn that experience into a something positive.
Parking and Traffic Services just finished a new program called “Food for Fines.” The program, which was developed by the department’s supervisor, Denise Haney, allowed people to donate cans of food instead of paying money for parking fines. The food was then taken to a food bank for the needy.
“We wanted to do something for the community and the students,” Haney said. “It was a real positive experience.”
Each student who received a citation for a parking violation between Dec. 1, 1997, and Jan. 15, was given the option of donating canned food instead of paying the money for the fine. The option did require, however, that the violator donate at least one can of food per dollar owed. The program only applied for fines under $20.
“It was a service-oriented way to pay your ticket,” said Traffic Enforcement Officer Garrett Anderson, a sophomore from Normal, Ill., majoring in geography. “Each traffic officer was giving out pamphlets explaining the ‘Food for Fines’ program with each of our citations. Each day we would come back to the office and see lots of cans.”
“I think it’s an excellent idea,” said Jamie Heaton, a senior from Moab, Grand County, majoring in public relations. “I feel like it’s a good way for students to help the community. Plus, it’s a great thing that Parking Services can donate to a good cause.”
Heaton, who paid a ticket with cans of food, also liked the idea of knowing where the donations went, rather than just giving money to Traffic Services so they could write more tickets.
The program was so successful and well received that many think it should be repeated. Haney said she plans on doing it again, but will probably do it at a different time. She wants to avoid a routine because she feels it would encourage traffic violations when the program is in effect.