Filling the sleigh for parking

This holiday season, students can receive a voucher for one outstanding parking ticket from the Weber State University Bookstore by donating to Fill the Sleigh 2011 by Dec. 23.

Fill the Sleigh kicked off its third third annual drive Thursday and is now excepting donations.  The drive is centered around the free Fill the Sleigh Event, featuring Santa, live reindeer, holiday crafts and more.  In turn for sponsoring this free event, Campus Stores request that WSU students, faculty and staff help fill Santa’s sleigh.

The bookstore has teamed up with local charities in the past, including Ogden Rescue Mission and WSU Community Involvement Center.  This year, the donations will go to the Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank.

“This third year, we wondered who else we could get involved in Fill the Sleigh that would be excited about it,” said Amber Robson, WSU Bookstore marketing manager. “I was on other committees with the new Parking Services Manager Crystal Taylor, and Parking Services had the idea for the ticket waiver that would help raise student support.”

To receive a parking ticket voucher, select an item from the “Most Needed Items” list, including  diapers, paper towels, toilet tissue, food items (beans, rise and pasta), hygiene items (especially shampoo) and feminine hygiene products.

“We’ve outlined it so that students only have to bring in one item off the Most Needed list,” Robson said. “We hope they will see the benefits of their donations and benefit more.”

After donating at least one item, all students will receive a “Fill the Sleigh — Ticket Voucher.”  The voucher then must be presented to Parking Services in Annex 5 in order for the parking ticket to be waived.

“We wanted to join with Campus Stores to increase the number of donations for the Fill the Sleigh event, which will benefit those in need in our area.  At the same time, give back a small thank you to those who participate,” Taylor said.

Students can turn in the voucher for an outstanding ticket or a ticket issued up until Jan. 31, 2012 going up to a $30 fine.

“We understand that students’ funds are tight too so we want it to be a win-win for both sides.  Besides, how could you not want to help your community?  The holidays get so busy with all the hustle and bustle; the waiver program helps us to think about those in need and contribute to them,” Robson said.

Shaylee Wheeler, program assistant for the Community Involvement Center, said that although the donations support the community, students should be motivated to be charitable without receiving something in return.

“People should just realize the need of those less fortunate than themselves and shouldn’t need to have incentives to help them out,” Wheeler said. “I think paying the parking ticket is good, actually, because it provides an incentive to only park where you’re allowed, to follow the rules.” However, she admitted that “it’s probably more important in the scheme of things to donate to a charity, so I think this waiver program is a good idea.”

WSU sophomore Amber Haskin said that although she has not yet received a parking ticket at WSU, she will be glad to have the voucher.

“That way if I’m running late to my super early morning class, I can park closer and essentially get a free pass,” Haskin said.

She said she probably would have donated to the drive anyway, though.

“Offering a ticket waiver is great because it gets people aware of the drive, and then they’re more likely to donate,” Haskin said.

The Fill the Sleigh Event will be held Wed. Dec. 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Ogden Campus Store.

“Come enjoy us; it’s a great time,” Robson said.  “The Santa we have is great. Everyone loved him last year.  How can you not want to see live reindeer?  Their names are Snowflake and Dancer, and I believe we’re the only place in Ogden with live reindeer.”

Parking Services is helping to sponsor the event by providing free parking, so students won’t even have to use up their ticket waiver.