Food-Bot: Hungry students find solace in free food site

The only thing better than free food is knowing exactly where to find it.

Humans are hunters and gatherers. However, over the course of evolution we’ve become much lazier. Lucky for us, there’s Born from the desire for free food combined with a lack of physical motivation to go looking for it, the site has enabled college students to browse delicious giveaways on campus without even leaving their dorm rooms.

Greg Woloschyn, a computer science major at Carnegie Mellon University, had a dream. When he woke up hungry from that dream, he got to work on creating Food-Bot. The site lists free food for 12 campuses and won Carnegie Mellon’s Smiley Award in March. We caught up with Woloschyn to hear more about the hunger that fueled his project.

What was the inspiration behind Food-Bot?

My main inspiration was my sheer love for free food. I couldn’t stand the thought of so many free food events going on all around me and not knowing about it. I had to do something about it. Luckily, I had taken a class at CMU, Intro to Artificial Intelligence (15-381), where I learned some basic machine learning techniques. I decided this was the perfect situation to apply what I had learned.

What is the site’s philosophy? How do you gather the information about free food events?

My site’s philosophy is “don’t let food go to waste.” I gather the information using event websites that post information about upcoming events, including events containing free food.
How did you have time to launch a project like this as a full time student?

If you’re hungry enough, you’ll make time for something like this. And I certainly was hungry enough. Perhaps a better question would be “how did I find time to attend all of those free food events and still get my work done?” The answer to this is still a mystery to me.
How has the site grown since you first launched it?

The site has grown quite a bit since the beginning (especially since the time when Food-Bot was still just a Gmail filter). I didn’t expect it to become so sophisticated. After using it myself to go without paying for food for 5 months, it’s nice to see other people catching on to the site’s usefulness.

How many schools can use Food-Bot now and what are your hopes for the future?

Currently there are 12 universities, although the most active users are at 3 of them. My hope is to gain an even stronger user base.
What advice do you have for other students who want to expand on their own creative business ideas?

Don’t be afraid to take risks, and don’t get discouraged if it seems like things aren’t going well. If you really believe in your idea, don’t let anything make you lose faith, and go all out.

Want to use Food-Bot for your campus? Find your school on this list and vote! Food-bot is also on facebook.

Get even more info about life at college on EducationOption.


Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…


Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…


Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…


Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.


‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."


'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…


Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…


Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.


Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.


Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.


Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.


Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…


Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…


Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…


4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.