Viewpoint: Fill the sleigh and get out of parking tickets

Weber State University Parking Services’ cronies are on our naughty list most of the time, but not during the holiday season.

Starting from Dec. 2 and extending until the end of the month, instead of paying off our tickets like usual, or avoiding them in general like some us tend to do, we can pay off our debts in donations.

Parking Services gets a bad rap for ticketing cars illegally parked in the lots around campus, but by making donations instead of paying off tickets, we can forgive them. The parking patrol is working with WSU Campus Stores, the Center for Community Engaged Learning and Catholic Community Services to make this possible.

Students have options to take care of their tickets. Cash donations can be made to Catholic Community Services, or students can donate 10 cans of food or pick an item from CCS’s most-needed list and drop them off at the campus bookstore before the end of December. The CCS list includes diapers, baby formula and canned holiday items, such as vegetables, soups, gravy and meat. At the Davis or main campus bookstore where donations are made, students will receive a “Fill the Sleigh” voucher to present to Parking Services in Annex 5.

These vouchers can be presented to Parking Services by Jan. 31 to waive one parking ticket up to $20. So there’s an option for all the Scrooges and Grinches who wouldn’t otherwise be contributing to the sleigh. Parking Services is clever and generous to offer this option to a bunch of parking sinners such as ourselves.

We feel like offering students the opportunity to give to others instead of a seemingly greedy and faceless institution is a way of sparking student involvement during the holiday season. This is the time of year when giving comes naturally, when thinking of others first should be second nature. Students should want to donate and help out our community without the parking ticket incentive.

For those of us who haven’t had the pleasure of receiving a parking ticket yet this semester, donating food or items in order to get a free parking spot seems like a great deal. But students should want to donate to the cause regardless.

Dec. 9 is another daylong opportunity for those who are feeling gracious enough to give to the sleigh. Donations will grant free entrance to the event featuring Santa himself and live reindeer. Students are welcome and encouraged to bring their families and cameras to the event.

According to Amber Robson, marketing manager for the bookstore, more than 500 pounds of donations came in during years past, mostly in the form of canned goods. Fill the Sleigh also brings in more than 1,000 participants.

Students and their families will participate in “reindeer games” and can make their own holiday crafts, browse for holiday gift ideas and purchase “Fill the Sleigh” T-shirts, with proceeds going to CCS. Don’t worry about parking during this event, because it will be free.