Some Emerson students watch their Twitter feeds carefully, looking for the post that reads: “FREE movie passes! Come to Student Life!” Grabbing their jackets and hoofing it to the office on the second floor of Piano Row, they join the others standing in line for the tickets.
According to Sharon Duffy, the associate dean of students, Student Life started giving out free passes to advanced film screenings in 2001 in an effort to connect students to the city of Boston. While the office often offers movie tickets, it also gives away vouchers to events like CollegeFest and promotional items like T-shirts, posters, hats, and stickers.
“I even was able to distribute tickets to a Madonna concert and other shows,” Duffy said in an email. “It really varies.”
Duffy said the passes are sent to her from various marketing companies to fill theater seats for the films. She estimated that Student Life typically gives them out 20-40 times a year to 400-700 students.
When alerting students of available tickets, Duffy said the office posts announcements on its Twitter account @ECStudentLife and on eCommon. Some students also stop by from time to time to see what Student Life has to offer, she said.
“Generally, I get [the passes] two to four days in advance of the screening,” Duffy said. “As soon as I get them, I post.”
Zachary Haldeman, a senior visual and media arts major, said he would try to get tickets as soon as he saw a tweet. He said he has gotten passes from Student Life about twice a year since he was a sophomore.
“Once I had free time, I would go to the office,” Haldeman said. “I didn’t want them all to get taken.”
According to Duffy, the tickets go quickly, but the popularity of the vouchers is somewhat dependent on the film and whether or not it has a Q-and-A session afterward.
“On average, the passes get scooped up within 24 hours of me posting that I have them,” she said.
Haldeman said he wished the office used a different Twitter handle for its movie updates.
“If there was a separate account, I could get the tweets sent to my phone, so I would know exactly when they have [the tickets],” he said. “But I don’t want all of their tweets sent to my phone.”
Haldeman also said he thought the announcements were somewhat inconsistent.
“Maybe they just don’t always have passes,” he said, “but there would be months when I didn’t see an update from them.”
Daniella Cuencas, a freshman writing, literature, and publishing major who recently got tickets through Student Life to see the movie Pitch Perfect, said she found out about the passes through her roommate.
“It was super easy,” she said. “They were really nice. It wasn’t too crowded — I just gave them my I.D. and I got them.”
She said she would definitely get tickets again, but it would be depend on the movie.
According to Duffy, Student Life loves being able to offer the free tickets to Emerson students.
“We are all about giving students opportunities to bring students together with common interests and get them connected to each other and to take advantage of special events happening in the city of Boston,” said Duffy.