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Got fines?

BUPD forgiving fines in exchange for food donations

Bloomsburg University students who have accumulated parking tickets this semester may be in luck with the BU police department’s most recent initiative, Food For Fines. This initiative offers students the option to bring in 5 canned goods to donate to the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard, in return for which the Bloomsburg University Police Department will release the student of one of their parking tickets.

This offer began on November 6th and will run for two weeks, until November 17th. Parking tickets collected anytime since the first day of school can be exchanged for canned goods through this initiative, except those received for handicapped or fire lane violations.

Leo Sokoloski, the Director of the Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania Police, explains, “we have been doing this several years… We do it around the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and it is paired with [the idea of] be thankful.”

Sokoloski expressed that the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard helps provide food for many people each week who need it, so much so that the shelves can run very low, especially as the holidays approach. Therefore, he states, “we have always partnered with them to help them bolster their shelves with canned goods going into the holiday season.”

The police department is not the only ones who think this initiative is beneficial. Devin Miller, who is a junior neurophysiology monitoring major, is also a fan.

He states, “I love the concept that helping the less fortunate could help the students who are already in some financial stints themselves, but in a sense, it seems to be a double-edged sword; either way, someone is winning!” He also brought up the idea that if students wait to use this initiative to get rid of all their parking tickets, instead of paying the $15 fine, it might not fix parking issues that may occur on campus.

Makayla Maslinski, a freshman psychology major, also expressed her excitement about the Food for Fines initiative, saying it is “a great way to motivate people to contribute to the common good.” She goes on to say that saving money as a college student can be hard and that people’s basic needs must be met before they can focus on academics or jobs, so she believes this initiative will help the people on both sides of the deal.

When asked how many students utilize this initiative to get rid of their parking tickets, Director Sokoloski says, “if in a months time, say we give approximately 1,000 tickets, maybe 200 [students] bring tickets in to be excused.” He expressed that the police department hopes a lot of students take part in this during the 2 week period it is running, but he wants to make it clear that once the deadline has been reached, canned goods will no longer be accepted in exchange for the dismissal of parking tickets. He states, “there is meaning to this,” which is why there is such a strict window to participate before the program ends on November 17th.

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Maddie Bolger, Multimedia Journalist

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