Students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha can look forward to a new way to pay off parking tickets next semester by participating in community service instead of paying it off in cash.
The program was proposed by Student Sen. Caleb Moyer and was passed by student government last week.
Some of the logistics are still being worked out, but as the bill currently stands, a student can opt to use community service to pay off a ticket once per semester. They can only use this option after they have used up their one-time waiver for the semester.
Parking Services has yet to comment on the new bill because not all the details have been finalized.
Moyer said it was important to student government to create a realistic plan for parking services because they will be doing the majority of the work once the bill goes into place next semester.
Parking Services isn’t the bill’s only partner. The Weitz CEC is also involved and will offer students volunteer opportunities to work off their parking tickets.
Students will have the option to either work on one of the CEC’s days of service or work during the Wednesday hour of service offered weekly.
The going rate for the work is $10 per hour, and student’s must fulfil their community service requirements within the month the ticket was given.
The financial burden students face wasn’t the only factor that motivated Moyer’s proposal. Moyer said he hopes that through the program, student’s will gain a passion for community service.
“There’s a stigma around community service not being enjoyable,” Moyer said.
He’s optimistic that though students may not look forward to serving community service hours, they will come away with an appreciation for volunteerism. The end goal is that the student decides to volunteer again.
One person raised the question of how students would feel about the idea via Twitter, and this helped the proposal gain traction. The tweet received over 100 likes and several accounts replied with compliments about the idea.
“Yes, yes, yes, love this idea!” replied Hadeel Basma via Twitter.
“I hope students take advantage of it,” said Anna Rodriguez, a junior at UNO. “I think it’s a good opportunity for students who go to school full time and don’t have a disposable income. The community service will benefit UNO and the student.”
However, not all students were as hopeful that the idea would take off.
“Many students will say to themselves ‘this is too much of a process, and I don’t have the time,’” said Katy Carnes, a junior at UNO. “It’s not as easy as paying the $30.”
UNO isn’t the first university to come up with a program that allows fine forgiveness with community service. Just this year, Missouri State University introduced a similar program that they call “Bear with Me.”