Remember the good old days when we were actually bribed to read? We read book after book with the promise of receiving a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut for our hard work, thanks to a program called Book It! implemented in many elementary schools for the last twenty years.
Flash forward a decade and reading books to earn scrumptious pepperoni, melting cheese and sizzling sausage on a warm savory, crunchy crust never sounded so good. But now we have to dish out ten bucks for pizza, not to mention hundreds for books we might never open.
[pizza] March is Reading Month, in case you forgot, and unlike three-year-old Jakob Higgins, who reads because his “mom said so,” we’re on our own. We’re supposed to read countless textbooks and articles every night and there is usually no pizza- or mothers– in sight.
It is evident on campus that there are many reasons as to why reading is important, from getting that 4.0 to expanding knowledge on a particular subject. “Taking the time to read not only provides you with information- it activates your brain and enhances comprehension and understanding in all areas,” English professor Regina Salmi said.
As students we have an obligation to read. We read to learn, but in the words of English professor William S. Penn, “students should read because only reading (and art) protects them from being foolish. In addition, it’s one thing they can do that enhances the next day and doesn’t give them hangovers or STDs.”
Some students enjoy reading without the incentive of a free pizza or the assurance of a healthy pelvic exam, such as no preference freshman Brett Tillman. “I enjoy sticking my nose into a good book, not only for the constant plethora of newly acquired knowledge, but also for the immense feeling of accomplishment that I achieve through hours of flipping pages, one after another.”
Perhaps other less book-hungry college students could learn from seven-year-old Bobby Joseph, who has set his daily reading quotas quite high. “My goals are to read 500 minutes a day and 1000 a night,” he said. Wow, that means quite a few free pizzas. Keep up the good work, Bobby!
Nikki Hartel, a kinesiology sophomore, suggested that the Pizza Hut sponsored reading program should be brought back. “We should have Book It! for college kids,” she said. It takes a college student to come up with such a brilliant idea. Pizza Hut, on the other hand, didn’t like the idea as much.
Pizza Hut employee, Stephanie Burnham said they “wouldn’t trust college students to read the books, because I, myself [as a student], don’t read my books.” Burnham works at the local East Lansing Pizza Hut. She also added “we would have to get the professors to sign off on it.”
The particulars are yet to be worked out, but many students feel that Pizza Hut should reconsider bringing back Book It! for big kids. “College students will do anything for free food, maybe to go as far as actually reading a book,” advertising sophomore Shannon Rolley said. “I’d be much more inspired to read if I could have a nice meal in the wee hours of the morning. For free food, I would even read a book drunk,” she said.
Even if Pizza Hut doesn’t allow college students to enjoy our undying love for those death-defying personal pans for free, it is still important to read. Salmi believes that “an awareness campaign like National Reading Month should occur on college campuses.”
We’re down, now we just have to get Pizza Hut to sign.

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