Council May Turn Potato Chips Into Computer Chips
Member plans to trade in Frito-Lay bags for PC
Save those chips!
Strapped for cash and looking for innovative ways to save money, the Undergraduate Council is pinning its hopes for a new computer on a campaign to collect "eploid" points from the backs of Frito-Lay potato chip bags.
At Sunday's meeting, member Trisha S. Dasgupta '03 presented her idea to have the council collect the empty potato chip bags from the Fly-By lunch counter. Each bag has one "eploid" on it, she explained.
Currently, eploid.com is in the midst of a 100-day auction: Each day until Nov. 15, 10 Gateway computers will be auctioned off to the bidder offering the most eploids. In the last week, some computers have gone for as little as 1,380 eploids, while others have gone for as much as 4,405 eploids.
Dasgupta proposed that the council place a collection box in Loker Commons and that council members make a special effort to get chips from Fly-By.
Currently, the council has a 10-year-old Apple computer that was severely damaged when a pipe burst in the council office last winter. The computer has been "completely nonfunctional" this fall, treasurer Justin A. Barkley '02 says.
For months now, a paper clip has been keeping the monitor on.
"If you removed the paper clip, we couldn't turn it on," said President Fentrice D. Driskell '01.
Despite what one representative called the "juvenile" nature of Dasgupta's plan, council members say it is important to remember that they are trying to save the council's scarce resources.
"If it works, it's an awesome thing and it saves the student body money," member Todd E. Plants '01. "I'll put my chips in the box."
Barkley says that the idea might work but adds that his own participation will be limited.
"We'll find out next Sunday when we see people actually collected them," he says. "If I think about it one day when I'm in there, [I'll get chips]; I'm not going to go out of my way to get three bags of chips."
Dasgupta has some convincing left to do on the council.
"It doesn't seem people took it too seriously," Driskell says.
Driskell says she'll be asking around this week to clarify whether people took Dasgupta's idea at face value.
But the president says she's a supporter.
"I appreciate the ingenuity and spirit behind it," she says.
For now, Dasgupta and the council are proceeding with the plan. A collection box will be set up in Loker as early as today.
"It's worth a shot," Dasgupta says. "We're showing the student body that we're trying to save the money that they've graciously given us."
Even if the council isn't the highest bidder for the computer, they can also redeem the points for 70 autographed photos of Frito-Lay mascot Chester Cheetah or 26 liquid-filled CD holders.
If they do win the computer, they could also collect an extra 45 eploids to buy a Chester Cheetah mouse pad.
One caveat in the scheme is that the Gateway giveaway states that the winner must be 18 or younger to win. But Dasgupta says a few council members are under the age limit.
"We have a lot of freshmen on the council," she says. "They'll all be participating in the campaign."
Win or lose, many council members applaud Dasgupta's imagination.
"It's a creative way to save some money, and there's nothing wrong with that," Plants says.
--Staff writer Garrett M. Graff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.