Two students have found a way to get free food on campus.
David Hepworth and Chase Roberts, founders of the BYU Lunch Box application, have made finding food around campus easier for students.
“There are a lot of events on campus that offer free food, but because of a limited ability to reach out to all students not everyone gets the message,” Hepworth said. “The app helps to put the message of free food giveaways or organization events in one easy and quick accessible place — on your cell phone or computer.”
The cell phone app, which was launched two weeks ago, already has a little over 400 student downloads, and both Hepworth and Roberts predict that by the end of the month, 1,000 students will download it.
The app is free to download and helps promote clubs and organizations, featuring a list of events that are offering free food.
Dave Conley, who is studying molecular biology, first heard about the BYU Lunch Box app in his physics class after he saw information about the app written on the whiteboard.
“I like how this app makes students aware of free food on campus and also informs students of events,” Conley said. “This app, I feel, raises awareness of organizations and clubs that some students may have never known existed.”
As many college students know, free food is always a plus of college life, but do organizations and clubs feel taken advantage of when students just drop in for a bite and leave right after?
Jonathan Shumway, an officer of the BYU Pre-med Club, hesitated when he first heard about the app.
“When I first heard about the app from David, who asked if he could advertise that the (pre-med) club was having free pizza, I had my doubts,” Shumway said. “I felt students would only come for the food. After thinking more about it, I realized that the app was a great publicity tool and would build awareness of our club.”
The app’s format provides lists of upcoming events, what food will be offered, which organizations are sponsoring them and when they will take place. The app also displays the events weeks in advance so students can plan their schedules accordingly.
The BYU Lunch Box app isn’t just for students with smartphones. Students without smartphones can receive updates on free food events on campus through the BYU Lunch Box website, Facebook page or Twitter.
“We want our app to be available to every student, and by putting it online we can reach students who don’t have smartphones, allowing students without smartphones to receive updates on upcoming food events on campus,” Hepworth said.
Hepworth and Roberts strive to make the app more user friendly and are constantly looking for ways to improve it. Recently, they had an idea of allowing students to click on an “I’m attending” button so clubs and organizations know how much food to plan for.
“We feel that something like this can reduce stress and help organizations and clubs plan the right amount of food and space they need to fit the needs of the event,” Roberts said.
Hepworth and Roberts, who anticipate graduation in the near future, hope their app will become big enough that students will update it regularly about free food events without their help.
“Our hope is that this app will continue after we leave BYU,” Roberts said. “I plan to stay in Provo a while after I graduate so I can work for start-up companies, allowing me to check on the app’s progress on a daily basis. My dream is that someday this app will become self-sustaining.”