A student group chat focused on finding free food on college campuses has grown into a community that spans across multiple universities.
Finesse UT is a group chat on GroupMe where students can post opportunities for free food they find around campus. It is one of many free food group chats created by Jack Klachian, a biology senior from UT-Dallas. Klachian said he started the group chats his freshman year with only a few friends.
“So many people joined in the beginning at UTD that I was like, ‘Why don’t I do this at other colleges?’” Klachian said. “I started putting up chats at different colleges and making a community out of it and calling it Finesse Nation.”
To join Finesse UT, students can add themselves through a link to the group, which has more than 1,000 members.
Students helping each other find free food makes the chat more effective than other apps with the same purpose, such as discount-finding app Hooked, Klachian said.
“I want to make an app and be the king of free food and free stuff at colleges,” Klachian said. “I feel like there are apps out, but they’re just not doing it right. I have the secret recipe.”
Government senior Hannah Reinhard said the chat is helpful for finding food on campus in between classes.
“It’s difficult to be able to find affordable places to eat around campus,” Reinhard said. “I’m not the greatest chef in the world so being able to come across these free things on campus is really nice.”
Reinhard said the group chat works effectively because of student generosity.
“It also builds a sense of community by just wanting to help each other out,” Reinhard said.
Klachian said because of other expenses college students must pay, food insecurity should not be a problem.
“Having help can really save you some money,” Klachian said. “If you’re going to drop eight bucks on Chipotle, you can save that and just eat for free.”
Another food resource for UT students is UT Outpost. Will Ross, coordinator of the Student Emergency Services food pantry, said food insecurity is a real concern for many students.
“Food insecurity is a big need on our campus … It’s great to see students passionate about that and find creative ways to problem solve that,” Ross said.
Originally published November 8, 2018 by The Daily Texan
Article by Lauren Grobe
Illustration by Jeb Milling