Collegefest 2008: College Fun on a College Budget

Amy Julian

Given the nature of the current economy (and a college-student budget in general), when companies congregate and offer tons of free stuff, I’m there. I mean, where else can you pick up contraceptives, book a spring break trip, take in live entertainment, and get more pens and Frisbees than you know what to do with? Granted, if you are like my boyfriend and me, you’ll take everything in sight, your eyes bigger than your proverbial belly, and end up throwing away 80% of the hummus samples and free beer pong balls. But it’s still fun to see who can load up their bag with more crap.

Collegefest has been around for ages. I remember hearing about the enigma that was this legendary event when my oldest sisters were here at UMB years ago (and as the third generation of UMass Boston kids, I plan on completely outdoing their Collegefest conquests yet again). I recall hearing these stories of free stuff and fun and games and being too young at the time, didn’t understand what all of the hype was about. That all changed in September 2005. Armed with an empty backpack and a propensity for free stuff, I walked into the Hynes Convention Center, a kid in a candy store. I went from table to table, getting my nails done, having my picture taken with the Playboy Playmates, and scooped up as much stuff as I could. From that day forward, with my weight in free swag, I was hooked on Collegefest.

Once 2006 rolled around, my boyfriend and I embarked on a joint venture to Collegefest-now with the ability to get double the stuff. My dad still uses the free Planned Parenthood cups and the Jetblue Airways pens we scored there. We even ended up getting a 2-for-1 deal for a trip to Montreal! This past year, we ended up with free tickets to a Bruins game and gift cards to retailers across Boston.

Collegefest isn’t just about the free stuff (though there’s plenty to satiate your voracious appetite for loot). Entertainment runs all day, with a DJ, emcees, and live performances. Dropkick Murphy’s, the Lovehammers, Bubba Sparxxx, and Damien “jr. Gong” Marley have all been there. This year, Collegefest boasts a strong lineup featuring, among others, Soulja Boy and Chamillionaire. While you’re “crankin that” and “ridin dirrty” you can hang with friends, hang with Playmates, and hang with reality stars from MTV and VH1. (It’s a long shot, but Mr. Boston, if you are reading this: BE THERE!)

Over the past few years that I’ve gone, UMass Boston representation has been weak. Amidst BU, BC, Northeastern, and even Harvard students (all who probably don’t need the free stuff anyways), there has been a lack of Beacon blue and white. Collegefest 2008 is being held on September 27 and 28, with doors opening on both days at 12 noon. Admission is $10 at the door, or $6 if you order your tickets ahead of time through the Collegefest website ( Helpful hint: there are usually Buy One Get One or Reduced Admission fliers floating around outside the Convention Center, so keep your eyes peeled before heading in the doors to score sweet savings-nothing wrong with getting free stuff for a discount. Some call me cheap; I like to think I’m thrifty.

So make sure to bring your backpacks and sneakers and head to the Hynes Convention Center on either (or both) September 27 & 28. Be sure to wear your UMB garb if you have it. See you there-my apologies in advance if I cut you in line at the free juice display.