Nov. 10, 2011  

No Free Lunch at University of Tampa

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch — and at the First Amendment Free Food Festival a delicious meal comes at a cost: your rights.

Last Monday, SPJ Vice President Michele Boyet and newly-elected SPJ national student board member Gideon Grudo traveled to University of Tampa to help put on the award-winning event.

The FAFFF originated in South Florida – the inaugural event was held at Florida Atlantic University in 2006. UT’s joins the list of more than 30 college campuses around the country that have put on this festival – a vast majority thanks to funding from SPJ national.

The event offers free lunch to students who symbolically sign away their First Amendment rights. Once inside a roped-off area of campus, the students see first hand what it’s like to live without their freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and the right to petition your government.

“We always believed the best way to reach college students was through their stomachs,” says Boyet, the FAFFF co-founder/organizer. “We’re essentially teaching students about their rights by tricking them with free food. Works like a charm.”

UT’s student newspaper, The Minaret, and a newly-formed First Amendment Organization sponsored the event. The students took the creatively to a new level, adding face painters, character artists and even balloon animals. The event attracted more than 360 students on a campus of 6,500 – more than 5 percent of the student body.

Also this week, the University of Florida held their 3rd FAFFF. See their coverage here.

See more FAFFF’s from around the country here.

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