The aroma of Insomnia Cookies hung in the air, students received nimble hand chair massages and bright blue Walmart bags dotted the concourse at Munn Ice Arena during the 2012 U-Fest Monday night.
Many who attended the event had one goal in mind: “I wanted to get some free stuff,” geography junior Anne Scobell said.
U-Fest is known by many students as an opportunity to get free stuff from local businesses but there is more to U-Fest then just that, said Hilary Young, chairperson of the University Activities Board, or UAB.
“U-Fest has been a tradition for 32 years,” Young said. “It’s normally the welcome back for the Union.”
The organization is responsible for a lot of the welcome week events going on all week. Almost all events put on by UAB are free of charge with a student ID.
Because of the closure of the Union, there was a brief period where it appeared that there would be no U-Fest in 2012. However, UAB wanted to continue the tradition and dismissed that idea very quickly. The planning for the 2012 U-Fest started in late May.
The vendors who sponsored the event included Insomnia Cookies, FUZE, Monster Energy, Dunkin’Donuts, Marley’s Mellow Mood, Union Deli, Canada Dry Bottling Co. of Lansing, Serrano’s, and Union Pizzeria.
This year’s festival was unique, as it was held for the first time outside the Union due to construction.
Munn Ice Arena created differences from previous years with the obvious option of free ice skating this year. For junior David Sobutka, comparing the two different sites was one of the determining reasons why he attended.
“I come every year and wanted to see what it was like at Munn,” Sobutka said. “I like it a bit better. It has more flow and is more open here. It’s easier to find stuff.”
Young said she also liked how open it was and how easy it was to see everything going on.
When U-Fest is held at the Union, it branches out across all four floors so some students expressed how it was harder to find certain things. However, Young would have preferred to hold the event at the Union because the temporary location led to fewer sponsors.
Young also said that U-Fest should return to the Union in 2013.
Outside of the free items and the long-lasting tradition, U-Fest offered the opportunity to meet new friends.
Arts and humanities freshman Jordan Miller, from Orange County, Calif., had no clue what U-Fest really was but created some friendships with some guys on his floor because of it.
“Making new friends is the cool part about it,” said Miller.
U-Fest was a hit for first-time attendee Scobell. “I would definitely come again next year.”
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