Do you have a FIU library? Pay it forward with a food donation to the campus food pantry | FIU News

This month, Food for Fines at FIU Libraries is giving borrowers a break. The annual tradition offers students the opportunity to waive their fines while donating to a good cause. Fines on libraries, while inconvenient for students, are essential to ensure that materials (eventually) are returned so that everyone can access them. Although necessary, these costs can add up and become a financial burden for customers.

This year, as part of the annual Food for Fines program, each item donated to the libraries reduces a student’s balance by $25. That means a student who donates a box of pasta and a jar of tomato sauce can eliminate a $50 fee from their account. (Yes, such a fine is possible when a laptop or other device is kept too long!) Of course, fine-free patrons who wish to make a donation can also drop off items at both libraries.

Food for Fines was launched in 2018 by Genevieve Diamond, former manager of FIU’s Library Access Services Department, affectionately known as “Jenny” to those who worked with her. In her role, Diamond hired, trained, mentored and mothered hundreds of student employees. “It was very important that the libraries were part of the university,” Diamond said recently of his motivation. “It should be a place where students want to come and enjoy it, so any type of service we could offer, I wanted to do.” Her concern for students made her a strong supporter of student support services such as the campus food pantry and Fostering Panther Pride.

When Diamond launched Food for Fines to support the food pantry and ease the tuition burden on students, it was an instant success.

jennydiaond-croppd.jpeg“If you have something worth doing, people will get involved and contribute.” – Jenny Diamond, former head of the Access Services Department, FIU Libraries

The student pantry is available on both campuses for those going through a difficult time. These pantries are donation-based and rely on contributions from faculty, staff, community members and organizations.

“Student food pantries rely on generous donations from our FIU community and the external community to serve students in need. The Food for Fines initiative through FIU Libraries is a great example of how academic departments can help our food pantries impact students. Joanna Garcia, Program DirectorCenter for Leadership and Service

In the last two years alone, Food for Fines has collected more than 200 pounds of nonperishable food items for food pantries and waived thousands of dollars in library fees for students.

Diamond worked at FIU for 15 years and was a strong supporter of the Student Food Pantry and Fostering Panther Pride, her dedication extending beyond the Food for Fines event. She frequently donated to both initiatives through the Ignite program and always encouraged people to remember the importance of food pantries during the holidays. Her student-focused nature and generosity were known to all who interacted with her.

“Jenny was passionate about anything that could help support students.” – Jackie Francis, Access Services Manager, FIU Libraries

Throughout the pandemic shutdown and gradual repopulation, Diamond oversaw essential staff for laptop and library hotspot distribution and contactless book delivery. When she retired in 2021, she combined her passion for photography and dedication to the needs of students by auctioning off her photographs for hundreds of dollars that went directly to support Fostering Panther Pride and was recognized by university administration.

To donate to the pantry, drop off items at either library, stop by the food pantries in person (Room 319 in the Graham Center and Room 256 in the Wolfe University Center), or visit from the pantry to donate online.

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