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Northwestern student launches free food blog

Weinberg+senior+Alice+Jeon+started+the+Twitter+account+and+blog+FreeFoodNU+on+Monday+night.+The+account+garnered+student+attention+with+more+than+180+followers.+
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Northwestern student launches free food blog

Weinberg senior Alice Jeon started the Twitter account and blog FreeFoodNU on Monday night. The account garnered student attention with more than 180 followers.

Weinberg senior Alice Jeon started the Twitter account and blog FreeFoodNU on Monday night. The account garnered student attention with more than 180 followers.

Mariam Gomaa/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg senior Alice Jeon started the Twitter account and blog FreeFoodNU on Monday night. The account garnered student attention with more than 180 followers.

Mariam Gomaa/Daily Senior Staffer

Mariam Gomaa/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg senior Alice Jeon started the Twitter account and blog FreeFoodNU on Monday night. The account garnered student attention with more than 180 followers.

Suyeon Son, Reporter

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The first night Weinberg senior Alice Jeon logged into her Twitter account, she already had 130 followers.

That number only increased as more Northwestern students flocked to the Twitter handle @freefoodNU to get a rundown of where free food is available on campus.

“College students are on free food like white on rice,” states the account’s handle description.

Jeon took a break from studying for midterms Monday night, clicked to social media site Reddit and browsed the “frugal” discussion thread. She read one post in the college section describing Twitter accounts at other college campuses that compile events where free food is offered. So @freefoodNU was born, along with its blog counterpart, freefoodnu.wordpress.com.

“I thought to myself, ‘That’s a brilliant idea, why don’t we have that?’” she said.

She advertised the Twitter account and site on the class of 2013 Facebook group and on her personal profile page.

“This is such a smart idea,” Weinberg freshman Andrew Hsieh said. “I’m definitely surprised that this hadn’t existed before.”

Since Monday, @freefoodNU has received a number of mentions and retweets from hungry students. It has also gained attention from student organizations advertising their events with free food, such as Kaibigan, a Filipino student association. Norris University Center’s Campus Programming also picked up on the Twitter handle and started taking advantage of @freefoodNU’s popularity.

“It was so cool because it was some kind of Northwestern employee following me on Twitter,” Jeon said. “It’s sick.”

SESP senior Rebecca Portman, a fellow at NU’s Center for Civic Engagement, said she stumbled across the Twitter account in her friend’s follow list. She tweeted at the account about a free food opportunity the Center was offering for students coming in for help on their applications to the Evanston Civic Internship Program.

“There’s actually always free food (at the Center),” Portman said. “But it’s a little bit out of the way so not many people know. I actually talked to the girl who’s on social media about maybe using @freefoodNU regularly to advertise.”

Although Jeon receives some event pitches through the Twitter account, she spent Monday and Tuesday walking around campus and taking detours from her usual way to class to look at every flier she could find.

“I have a spreadsheet where I enter all the events I find or receive planned in the next couple days,” she said. “It’s exciting for now, but I’m a pretty busy person. I’m hoping as it grows in popularity, I will get more tweets and mentions.”

Jeon, who will be graduating next year, said she will most likely crowdsource the idea of taking over the Twitter once she becomes an alumna to see if anyone is interested in taking it up.

“There is so much going on on campus, even beyond free food,” Jeon said. “And I feel like nobody ever reads the flyers or actively searches for these events, so people don’t know what’s going on around campus.”

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