Readers who have been checking out The Ink from its days as just a fledgling blog know that I never miss an opportunity to trash the USG (whether over ineffectual grade deflation measures, uncontested elections, the Becca Lee decision, election snafus – you get the picture).
So, as I stood in line outside the Garden Theater last Thursday around 11 p.m., waiting to see The Social Network FOR FREE, with FREE popcorn and a FREE soda, it occurred to me that credit ought to be given where credit is due. So here it is:
The free UFO movies at the Garden Theater are the best program the USG has ever enacted.
Now, this probably isn’t news to a lot of you — according to a Prince article, 2,700 students have gone to the free showings already this year, up from just 1,500 at this time last year. But it’s still worth going over why the initiative makes so much sense – lessons the student government can apply when thinking about other ways to spend school funds.
1. It’s Simple
Free movies. Every weekend night ( the college weekend includes Thursday, much as the baker’s dozen includes a 13th bagel). With snacks. First come, first serve. Easy, self-explanatory, and sells itself. Genius!
2. It’s Late
Princeton students stay up late. Really late, a lot of the time. And unless you’re going out to the Street, there aren’t all that many obvious late night choices. USG events often happen when there are a ton of other things going on – the night owls of Princeton are the perfect audience for activities.
3. It’s a Really Good Deal
Movies are, like, expensive yo! Tickets are at least $10 most places on a weekend night, and snacks hit the wallet hard, too. This is one case where “free stuff” is actually pretty valuable (unlike, say, kettle corn or those drawstring bags, as popular as those seem to be). The USG spends $17,500 on the movies, and in my book, it’s money well spent.
So, in other words, spend money on things students want and will use, preferably late at night. Here’s the thing – I didn’t even get in to the movie last week. They ran out of tickets a few spots ahead of me in line. And I wasn’t mad – other people had obviously gotten the memo earlier in the semester, or last year. Next time, I’ll just show up earlier. An hour of my time for a free movie? When it would take me half that time anyways to drive to the nearest non-Garden theater to pay for a ticket? Sign me up. Great job, guys.