No one likes to get a parking ticket. But paying for the citation with a donation of peanut butter is an awesome way to give back, especially for those in need. For the second year in a row, The University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) conducted their “Peanut Butter Parking Campaign” with the dual purpose of educating students about parking on campus, and creating awareness about local food insecurity and why food banks want peanut butter.
“We certainly don't encourage people to violate parking,” said Lauren Beaver, senior communications coordinator for Campus Services at UTSA. “For students who received an eligible citation, we wanted to give them a little bit of a break through the opportunity to pay with peanut butter.”
According to Beaver, the goal of the campaign is not just to raise donations of peanut butter for the community food bank, but to educate the campus community about parking violations. The idea was inspired by a similar campaign conducted by the University of Anchorage in Alaska. When UTSA Campus Services learned about it and started talking about how it could work for them, they ran with it and are now in their second year of the campaign.
The best part, of course, is that paying the citation with peanut butter means feeding a local family in need. “One in four children in our area is food insecure,” said Lisa Fragoso, food and fund drive coordinator for the San Antonio Food Bank. “So peanut butter is an item that we really like to receive, and UTSA has found a creative way to bring in more,” said Fragoso.
In fact, peanut butter is a shelf-stable, plant-based source of protein that food banks rely on. “One thing we made sure to include in our marketing materials was why we chose peanut butter, because it's so nutritious and it's got a long shelf life. It's one of the most common food items requested from food banks,” said Beaver.
Though they have not set a goal of how much peanut butter they hope to raise, Beaver did say that they would like to surpass last year’s donation of 700 pounds. That doesn’t mean they want to issue more parking citations. “Like last year, we welcome donations without citations and encourage anyone to donate to support our local community,” said Beaver.
So you don’t have to do bad to do good. But in case you messed up and parked without a proper permit on the first day of classes, UTSA Campus Services wants to help you avoid the same mistake and cut you a break by letting you give back with peanut butter.
And just like that, you got schooled in life lessons and humanitarian outreach.