Syracuse University Students Can Donate Food to Reduce Library Fees

Students with overdue library books can donate food and hygiene supplies to reduce their late fees.
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Published on November 30, 2023
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  • Food for Fines rewards students who donate food and hygiene products to their school libraries.
  • In return for donations, Syracuse University will reduce fines for students with overdue books.
  • This is not the first time the institution has offered Food for Fines.
  • Food for Fines will run until the end of the fall 2023 semester.

Syracuse University students can feed two birds with one scone, thanks to the returning Food for Fines program.

Food for Fines allows students at the private research university in upstate New York to donate food and hygiene products in return for the institution erasing part or all of their outstanding library fees. It allows students to do some charitable work in time for the holiday season, while also paying down fees they may have accumulated due to overdue library books.

Syracuse University Libraries said Food for Fines will run from Dec. 4 to the end of the fall 2023 semester.

Nick Olivieri, access services manager for Syracuse University Libraries, told BestColleges that Food for Fines has existed for at least 10 years. While it took a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, it returned during the spring 2022 semester.

The program collected 264 items and forgave almost $400 worth of overdue fines during the spring 2023 donation drive, Olivieri said.

Syracuse University Libraries will donate all food and hygiene products to the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry, which is connected to the on-campus, nondenominational chapel. The Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry serves students struggling with food insecurity — no questions asked. In 2020, about 23% of U.S. college students were food insecure.

Not only can students pay down their fines, they can simultaneously help their peers. Syracuse University Libraries will reduce students' library fees based on what they donate.

Food for Fines Donations
Reduced Fee Goods
$1 Toilet paper, lip balm, rice, pasta, canned vegetables/fruits/beans, pasta sauce
$2 Liquid soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, cereal, canned meats/fish
$3 Lotion, oatmeal, canned soup/baked beans, peanut butter/jelly, tea, hot chocolate, ramen noodles, granola
$4 Shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, coffee

Students may drop their donations off at the collection desks at the Bird, Carnegie, Law, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and King + King Architecture libraries.

Food for Fines does not include fines for interlibrary loans and lost book fees. It only applies to overdue circulation fines, according to the university.

Students do not need to have an outstanding fee to donate.