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No such things as a ‘free lunch’

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Many Colorado State University-Pueblo students are lured into events on campus by the offer of free appetizers or meals, yet this is not maintaining their attention for the presentation or event that follows.

Recently, at the Hispanic Heritage Month Dinner held on Oct. 7, many students were seen leaving before guest speaker, Juliana Aragon-Fatula, began her presentation, which began after guests finished their meals.

Three students from the accelerated nursing program were overheard at the dinner explaining how they were lured into the Occhaito University Center Ballroom with the offer of free food, but were not informed of the presentation that followed. They, as well as many others who may have been there for the free food, were seen leaving after Aragon-Fatula began her presentation.

When students take advantage of these types of opportunities for free food without participating in the actual event, they lose out on benefiting from the purpose of the event, or lose out on a chance to gain knowledge outside of the classroom.

Students leaving early can also become an issue for the speaker by interrupting the presentation, causing a distraction and derailing the speaker’s presentation, changing the focus to people leaving the room.

There are several ways to address students attending events for free food.

Event coordinators either could provide drinks before the presentation and then offer food after or engage the students in a topic they may actually be interested in.

By providing only drinks before an event or presentation, students hands and mouths will not be distracted during the presentation. By offering food after the event, students are still motivated to stay for the duration of the presentation.

This was achieved well at an indictment ceremony for the Alpha Lambda Delta national academic honor society. Students and guests were offered drinks before the ceremony began and were reassured that they would be given time at the end of the presentation to dine on the food and socialize.

For further success, event coordinators could use genuine promotion to draw students into attending an event without offering free food. Promoting this way would help the event have an outcome of students who truly wanted to attend the event who would not be rude or disruptive of the presenter.

By using one of these two methods of addressing the issue, CSU-Pueblo students may begin to attain knowledge or experiences from these events as intended.