Student Government program allows some parking tickets to be paid with canned goods

Running through Aug. 26, collected food will be donated to Boca Helping Hands.

Courtesy of FAU Student Government.

Courtesy of FAU Student Government.

Ryan Lynch, Editor-In-Chief

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For the next three days, “Cans for Cites” will be in effect, which allows students, faculty and visitors to get out of certain parking violations by donating canned goods.

The program was created by Student Government, Florida Atlantic Parking and Transportation Services and FAU’s Weppner Center for LEAD and Service Learning — a volunteer service organization on campus.

From Aug. 22-26, people who commit a parking violation can exchange a single can of food to resolve their ticket.

A person is only allowed to use the program for one ticket during the week, and eligible offences that can be paid with a canned good include any parking violations $25 or under, including parking without a permit and backing into a spot.

“That would be great, actually,” said senior english and sociology major Katherine Acevedo of the concept. “A canned good, you can get one for a dollar compared to $25.”

Charges that exceed $50, such as parking in a fire lane, loading zone or hazardous parking, are not eligible for the program. Late fines and citations for parking on the grass, sidewalks or walkways are also ineligible.

“I think there are students out there who are barely able to pay for their tuition, so if they got a ticket on top of that, it would be hard for them,” said sophomore neuroscience major Kevin Cobty. “It wouldn’t really cost that much and it would help others, I think it’s a win-win situation.”

The program was brought to the attention of Student Body President Michael Cairo by Parking Office Manager Tracy Hardy. Cairo said that he worked with Hardy and Nori Carter, the director of the Weppner Center, to coordinate how the event would work.

“It was their (Parking and Transportation Services) idea, so they set all the guidelines and things like that,” said Cairo. “LEAD and Serve was super happy I got involved and that we got it together because they have a very good program here, but they always need more donations.”

All goods will be donated through the Weppner Center’s BEYOND Food program to Boca Helping Hands, which is located 2 miles from campus on 1500 NW First Court. According to its site, the organization provides three days worth of food to students and faculty who have a short term food need.

Sophomore biology major Rhonda Edwards said, “It’s definitely a good thing because they’re giving to charity, but I feel like it’s going to encourage bad parking behavior because it’s like, ‘Oh, I can just take care of it with a $5 thing.’”

Cairo said that currently his President’s Administrative Cabinet is currently not working on a follow-up to the project, but that he is open to more ideas like this in the future.

The deadline to pay all tickets through the Cans for Cites program is Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. and all goods can be dropped off at the Parking and Transportation Services office in the Student Support Services building.

Ryan Lynch is the editor in chief of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.