Free food, sun draw crowd to campus picnic

Students had a 'free lunch' at a picnic hosted by the university at the Student Center on Thursday.

Last Thursday Eastern Michigan University administrators welcomed students and staff to the area just outside the Student Center for a campus picnic.Festivities centered around spreading exposure of the university’s current 0-0-0 initiative campaign focusing on the commitment to not raise any tuition, fees or room and board expenses for the following year.

Highlights included offering of free food which included hot dogs, polish sausages, chips, assorted sodas and ice water. Along with the food, the university was also giving away free 0-0-0 campaign t-shirts and other university apparel through various games, including a prize wheel and bag toss. Channel 95.5, WKQI in Detroit was on hand to provide music to the crowd.

Key organizers of the event, President Susan Martin and vice president of communications, Walter Kraft were in attendance.

Kraft took an active role along with others to organize shooting a video from the roof of the Student Center that incorporated forming hundreds of students and staff into the shape of a giant zero percent on the lawn. The footage shot may be used in a future television ad for the university.

Despite dealing with the sheer numbers of people attending the event, organizers were pleased with the results. Unofficial accounts from members of the food services department estimated the turnout between 3,000-5,000.

Two students, Jon Jarvis, a junior and Alex Zolynsky, a senior, said the line for the free food was only 5-10 minutes, despite stretching the breadth of the student center.“This event demonstrates the tremendous support we have from the community,” President Martin said when asked about the level of turnout.

The thought was echoed by some students, especially when asked about the 0-0-0 initiative campaign.

“It seems like everything’s more expensive today than when I started here, its nice to see the university try to keep prices for students in check” senior Tom Domagalski said. Along with the continuing television ads, EMU is also considering having similar events in the near future, in hopes of drawing additional attention to the tuition and fees freeze, along with the desire to lure future students away from other universities.

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