No Such Thing as a Free Lunch:

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch:

Critic Investigates if Class Reps get their Pizza Party

Picture this: it's the start of the semester, and you are once again reluctantly sitting in a packed lecture theatre for a paper you’re definitely not going to pay attention to. Your lecturer then begins the class by asking for a class rep. After a long awkward silence and a few glances across the room, some poor soul eventually raises their hand, volunteering to fulfil the position, on one promise: a free pizza lunch. The promise of free food is basically a Pavlovian-ingrained orgasm for malnourished students, but since Covid, many promises are going unfulfilled – most disappointingly, the promise of free pizza.
When Critic heard pizza was provided to some class reps (but not all), there were immediately questions. Domino’s or Pizza Hut? Sal’s or Hell? Did all class representatives get pizza, or just the enthusiastic ones? Given the fact greasy pizza is one of the four core student food groups, this warranted investigation. Is the pizza offered worth being a class rep? And most importantly, is the promise of free pizza even real in the first place, or is it some sick conspiracy to lure us in to be class rep? 

Sage Burke, Student Support Manager at OUSA, explained that any pizza promised to students would be coming from the professors, not OUSA. He told us that while OUSA has never promised free pizzas to class reps, they’re looking to expand the class rep training with heaps of free modules, at events “with snacks”. Could this finally be it? Is this the pizza party? No. “Students already eat enough pizza,” explained Sage, “we find that they actually prefer other snacks”. We kept digging.
Jamie was a class rep for HIST245 last semester, whose lecturer dangled the familiar lure of generic ‘free food.’ But a pizza party? “Nah, I don’t know anything about that,” she said. Given that Jamie has been class representative five times in two years (mad respect, but also why) it’s uncertain if there’s anyone who deserves a $5 cheesy garlic roll more than her. But apparently HIST245 didn’t manage to follow through on that free food promise. In fact, according to Jamie, only one paper did: HIST102, Global 20th Century History, and she didn’t even get pizza. Home baking and chips were provided instead, which may actually be an upgrade. Jamie rated it a solid 8/10. “I mean, Covid meant a lot of training was held online over Zoom. So that’s probably why I didn’t get the food for other papers.” Unfortunately, Zoom training did not yield a single byte to eat. Despite seemingly not needing that pizza incentive, Jamie does agree that it would sweeten the class rep deal.
Currently a geography class rep for a second time, Merlyn was also perpetually stuck in Zoom meetings, with no food or pizza, but she had heard from a friend that was class rep for MARI112 that there was a training event… with snacks! Could this have been the promised land of pizza? “Apparently the snacks were sandwiches and fancy fruit like pineapple. I was gutted to have missed out. I guess they just forgot to tell some people?” Forgot, indeed. This was only adding more evidence to the evolving theory that pizza might only be for the science class reps, which would track, subject funding-wise. Just look at the elevators in Burns vs Mellor. Yeah, sure, it was Covid that meant humanities students didn’t get pizza. Totally. 
But then we found out that the science students weren’t getting pizza either. Ella, who was a class rep for MICR221 also had her promised pizza disrupted by Covid and meetings conducted over Zoom. “I understand why we didn’t get pizza, and I’m not angry about it. On a scale of 1-10, a mournful 4 describes my emotions.” Perhaps the Microbiology Department couldn’t afford pizza anymore so instead created Covid in the labs and released the virus into the world? People have done worse to avoid less. This pizza party was beginning to look less real than Mark Zuckerberg's smile, and we were resigned to accepting that maybe the true pizza party was the friends we made along the way. Then, like a piece of pepperoni rising from a sea of cheese, we found our unicorn: a class rep that had gotten their pizza party.

In 2019, before Covid hit our shores and disrupted the class-rep-pizza-supply chain, Alison* was a class rep for PHYS191. A group of class reps all received their pizza, from Domino’s, although Alison also speculated there could have been some Pizza Hut in there. But not only did Alison receive pre-Covid pizza, in 2021 she received a pizza for her work as class rep for INDV307 – the same Domino's/Pizza Hut hybrid as the PHYS191. It seems like, just with everything else, disruptions to the pizza-class rep pipeline were caused by that damned virus. What started as an exciting myth-busting exercise turned up the usual suspects, although the question remains if pizza was exclusive to the science degrees, or if the more artsy students got their free pies, too. 

Nature is healing, and pizza has been reinstated into the class rep ecosystem. So, if you’re hit with a hankering for pizza, responsibility, and no respect, just know future papers, free from the burden of Covid, have no reason not to deliver – unless Monkeypox puts us on pause again. Until that happens, you make sure you get that free food. Cheese ain’t cheap these days.

*Name changed.

This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2022.
Posted 7:26pm Friday 2nd September 2022 by Ruby Werry.