Freshman’s Web site locates free food

| Staff Reporter

While organizations across campus are busy trying to attract students to their events with free food, freshman Stan Rosenthal launched a Web site called nomealpoints.com to facilitate an exchange of this information.

Nomealpoints.com launched on Jan. 19, the first day of spring semester, and lists all of the free food events that are happening on campus each day. Events also include targeted audiences, with keywords such as “everyone” or “international students.”

In addition to going straight to the Web site, students can access the Web site’s information through Facebook, Twitter, RSS, Google Cal and iCal.

“I think the best thing is that [the Web site] essentially takes all information that would otherwise be spread out and puts it all in one place,” said freshman Will Johnson, who has launched a Web site of his own that allows users to create music playlists. “It’s a great way to find free food, but also [to] be able to get involved with other clubs.”

The Web site is managed by Rosenthal alone, who receives e-mails from organizations across campus about the details of events and takes five minutes each day to update the Web site.

“I have a filter on Gmail that sorts through everything that has to do with free food,” Rosenthal said.

The Web site recently added a tool that allows subscribers to receive daily e-mails at 7 a.m., listing all of the free food events for that day.

In the future, Rosenthal hopes to add on special deals by local restaurants.

“Right now it’s just free meals, I hope to expand that to free meals and good deals,” he said. With that, he also hopes to generate revenue to cover the costs of running the Web site, and perhaps pay someone to update the page.

“I’m also working on having updated daily menus for various [dining] places, for example what they’re serving at the DUC on a daily basis,” he said. Although this information is posted on Wash. U.’s Dining Services Web site, Rosenthal hopes nomealpoints.com will be easier to read and to access along with other free food information.

The Web site has had more than 700 individual visitors since its creation, with more than 200 fans on Facebook and 53 followers on Twitter.

“I’m trying to…encourage more groups to send in their free meal events; that way [organizations] get free advertising for their events, and of course it helps the Web site,” Rosenthal said.

Despite its success, students see possible minor drawbacks.

“I think the obvious pitfall is that not all events are meant to be open events, or [have] people going for [only] the food and not being interested in the organization or the event,” Johnson said. He added that Rosenthal has put up “good mechanisms” to counter this problem by creating an intended audience subheading.

When asked about possibilities of imitation on campus, junior Harvey Multani, a systems science and business major, said he doesn’t expect much competition. “There’s money to be made, but it’s not [that] much money, and building up the brand recognition would take up so much time,” he said. “[The new Web site] would have to be unbelievably awesome to get people to switch.”