Land of the free

College students across the country know that if they are to survive the toil of four long, arduous years getting their degrees, there is one skill that they must add to their repertoire at any cost – free stuff.

The gimmicks are numerous and the methods versatile to give and receive giveaways. Like an expectant eagle that stalks its prey for days on end before attempting the final pounce, the purveyors of free goods study their demographic with due diligence.

You’ve seen this, been party to it – free cell phone with a two-year contract? Free ASU T-Shirt and football with a new bank account? Or perhaps just a free Sun Devils poster with the name of the sponsor splashed across the back. You name it, and the scheme probably already exists.

Freshmen, though, you are special! Albeit, only for your brief sojourn as the lost sheep with bags of gold on your backs. This is something you’ll learn soon, but the next time someone pops the lure of something free to you, remember that your money isn’t the only thing that you stand to lose – your time and personal information are also up for grabs, which are just as valuable, and much harder to claw back.

This shouldn’t be hard to believe. After all, the University even converted the fall welcome event for freshmen into one themed around free stuff.

Not that you would realize that it was an event aimed at freshmen if you were there; if anything, it resembled a welcome-back party for returning students hosted by the incoming freshmen. The word “free” spawns an addiction from the first day of college, and it’s one that gets steadily stronger for every subsequent year you spend in college.

However, the most potent tool of all in this game of lure and lucre is the one that appeals to the most basic faculties of every student on campus. For a lot of free points, the four-letter word that we are looking for: food.

Free food is now coincident with college and has spawned its own myriad sub-cultures. Graduate students and their ilk are identified less with higher education and more with a militant desire to corner the market on the free pizza, soda and cookies – a perception that is helped along by every single comic and pop-culture reference on the internet.

Can it be too long before marketing and sales offices, including the ASU administration, get creative and unleash new offers that are irresistibly “too good to be true?” Although, I may go for one of these: free proxy-attendance service for ASU 101 with the PRS clickers; an exclusive lane on Palm Walk when you buy a new bicycle; perhaps even a free evening out on Mill Avenue with the University’s upper management when tuition’s paid on time.

Kartik thinks free pizza would taste better in flavors other than pepperoni and cheese. Second his request at kartikt@asu.edu


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