Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Can-tastic!

You have three tests in the next four days. Your girlfriend just dumped you because you got drunk and hit on your roommate’s sister. You were recently fired from your job for excessive tardiness. Your family is worried that you never call. And worst of all, your library fines have now reached an all-time high: close to $100.

Sound like you? Have no fear, the administration is prepared to offer you help – at least with that last concern. Recently, Lauinger Library and Blommer Science Library started their annual Food for Fines program in which students can pay their library fines with canned goods instead of dollars. Each non-perishable food item covers $1 in fines.

All food donations will go to Bread for the City, a charity focused on helping vulnerable residents of the District, including the disabled and elderly. The organization provides comprehensive services, including food, clothing, medical care and legal aid, to over 10,000 D.C. residents each month. More than 500 volunteers work for Bread for the City, which was founded along with Zacchaeus Free Clinic in the mid-1970s. There couldn’t be a better local cause.

There are a few rules associated with the Food for Fines program. For example, a maximum of $20 worth of fines can be credited towards one person’s account via can donations. Further, the promotion is available only for a limited time – until April 18. (Cans can be donated at either Lauinger Library or Blommer Science Library on the third floor of Reiss.)

Georgetown began the Food for Fines initiative in 1995, but the program has been limited to library charges. We suggest that administrators consider expanding Food for Fines beyond the walls of the library and into other realms of student debt.

It would make sense for the university to accept donations to charitable organizations in lieu of housing damage charges, for example. Or perhaps donations could serve as substitutes for minor student conduct fines. Such a policy would both help local charities and demand accountability from irresponsible students.

We’re hoping that this program will open the door for future flexibility in the way students repay their debts.

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