Marion Pellicano Ambrose
Are you the parent of a “starving” college student and constantly having to send more money each month for food? You might be interested in having your college student check out “Food- Bot” (www.food-bot.com).
Food-Bot is a website designed to help college students find free food events on campus. The website seeks to serve two groups: students looking for free food, and student groups looking for some free publicity for their events.
There are one of two ways free food events get placed on the site:
- People post event information manually
- Food-Bot processes emails, extracts free food event information, and posts it on the site
Visitors to the site see information about all of the upcoming free food events, attend those events, and then eat to their hearts' content.Many groups who put on these events entice people with free food as a way to promote a cause or get more people involved. So in order for site users to know what they’re getting themselves into, each event listing includes ratings on the level of food quality, time commitment and awkwardness for those who may be interested in attending.
The site came about in 2009, when Greg Woloschyn, now graduated from Carnegie-Mellon’s computer science program, was looking for ways to survive on a typical college student’s budget. He started by subscribing to several on line student group mailing lists with his gmail account. After taking a computer intelligence class , he created a computer program that relied on artificial intelligence to improve detection rates while also periodically crawling various student group websites to find more catered events. Woloschyn reviews and approves the content before posting, but admits that on occasion, Food-Bot does make mistakes. He’s compiled an amusing list on the website with examples of some errors that were posted.
As the parent of a college student, I applaud and thank Greg Woloschyn for his contribution to starving college students everywhere, and to their poor parents who are usually the ones “forking out the dough”!