APSU Food for Fines project doubles participation for 2017
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APSU Food for Fines project doubles participation for 2017

Food pantry

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In 2014, the Austin Peay State University Department of Public Safety began a partnership with the University’s Save Our Students (SOS) food bank, creating the Food for Fines program. The program allows anyone who received an APSU parking ticket the option to provide food to APSU students in need in exchange for a parking ticket being voided. This year’s Food for Fines more than doubled in participation, resulting in a total of 406 tickets being counted as paid from student accounts. Additionally, the program’s participation has more than tripled since its inception, growing from 119 participants to 370 participants in 2017.

To participate, an individual must donate a minimum of 10 canned food items, a 12 oz. box of cereal, an 8 oz. box of instant potatoes or 2 lbs. of frozen meat per ticket. Participants can have up to two tickets removed.

The partnership specifically benefits students by lowering the cost of their fine to donated items while exposing them to the concept of helping others. Additionally, service-learning is a focus of the University’s strategic goals for student engagement.

“Students have been using our pantry services in greater numbers than ever before, so having such a large donation coming from the Food for Fines program is fantastic timing,” Alexandra Wills, director for the APSU Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, said. “It means a lot to our pantry users when they see boxes and boxes of food donations coming in everyday. It shows we have a campus who cares.”

APSU Public Safety staff and campus police officers also look forward to the effort, with parking patrol staff even helping out students they may have issued tickets to.

“Our department gets excited every year about this program because we know how much this benefits our community,” Michael Kasitz, director of Public Safety and APSU Police Chief, said. “There are times when a student will come in to participate in the program, but don’t have the required number of food items to have the ticket waived. Our officers, security guards and dispatchers voluntarily bring in food items for this type of occasion. They donate to further help students.”

For more information, contact APSU Campus Police at 931-221-7786 or apsupolice@apsu.edu.