I don’t own a car and I don’t have a license, and yet I still remember parking being a huge pain in the ass in college. It’s a guarantee that any student with a car ends their school year with at least one parking ticket. But one university has found a way to make use of all that pain. New Mexico State University is offering to waive parking tickets in exchange for a few small jars of peanut butter, reports the university’s parking website.
Remember the hassle of having a car in college? You have to pay a buttload of money for a student permit that only allows you to park in certain areas at certain times, and there are twice as many permits sold versus parking spots available. Yet any student at New Mexico State University who receives a “No Current Permit” ticket can pay it off with at least 80 ounces of peanut butter. It’s all part of an annual food drive: The parking office will accept peanut butter payments until December 3, and the jars will go to the Aggie Cupboard, a campus food pantry that provides assistance to the faculty and staff of the university as well as students from the local Doña Ana Community College.
The main items the Aggie Cupboard hopes to offer are non-refrigerated protein, vegetables, soups, beans, rice, pasta, sauces, and occasionally fruit, cereal, snacks, and beverages.
“We function mainly off donations, so to see that a department is willing to give rather than take is very humbling. It is a form of paying it forward,” said Amanda Nunez, program specialist at the Aggie Cupboard. Only one peanut butter offering per student will be accepted by the department as parking ticket payment, but of course donations to the cupboard are always welcome.
Even with the limitation of one ticket waiver per person, this program is something I wish larger parking authorities would offer around the holidays (or, in a perfect world, all the time). Food pantries are struggling and a donation program like this at a larger scale could be very beneficial to everyone involved.