Students crave technology this season

By Jonathan Wroble

For some University students, the best holiday gift comes without a price tag.

“I want Christmas dinner,” said Michael Zaun, freshman in Business. Zaun is from Orange County, Calif., and is used to 65-degree December weather and an absence of snow. He is also used to a big holiday helping of his grandmother’s cooking, including ham, turkey and different kinds of pie.

“It’s a lot of food,” he said.

According to an article at, a Web site that has more than 10 essays devoted exclusively to figuring out what college students want for the holidays, food is a student’s highest priority, and thus makes the best holiday gift. The Web site recommends batches of homemade cookies, boxes of microwaveable snacks and even gift cards to restaurants that are close to campus. The site also mentions the popularity of holiday-themed care packages, which are filled with an assortment of seasonal treats.

When food isn’t enough, many students are drawn to technology. For video game players, this holiday season will pitch Sony’s Playstation 3 against the Nintendo Wii, two consoles that aim to enhance the gaming experience. Student attitudes suggest that these brand new machines will accompany many on the trip back to campus after winter break.

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“I want a Playstation 3,” said John Everette, freshman in LAS. “It’s the system of the future.”

Still, some students find drawbacks to these new systems and prefer to stick to products of the past.

“(Playstation 3 and the Wii) are too expensive,” said Alex Pinkowski, freshman in Engineering. “I just want Playstation 2 games.”

While Sony and Nintendo compete in the video game market, Apple’s iPod remains the clear front-runner for all personal music devices. A 2006 survey from New Jersey’s Student Monitor reported 73 percent of college students consider iPods to be “in,” rating them highest on the survey. Beer and Facebook tied for second, both at a 71 percent “in” rating from surveyed students.

“I want an iPod because it’s cool,” said Nicole Kiolbassa, freshman in LAS. The iPod isn’t Apple’s only product that college students are excited about.

“I really want a MacBook Pro (computer),” said Molly Desalle, junior in ACES. “The old one is fine, but I like the newer version.”

Considering these ever-improving entertainment devices, money may be a central concern for many gift buyers. Playstation 3 hopefuls are expecting a present that can cost up to $600, while the latest versions of the iPod have prices over $300.

Luckily, some University students desire gifts that are either cheap or without cost, like Zaun and his wish for a Christmas feast. Many students, for example, mentioned their pride for the orange and blue, and they weren’t talking about the Fighting Illini.

“I want a Bears Super Bowl for Christmas,” said Daniel Worst, sophomore in LAS. Everette agreed; he wants Bears football tickets so he can cheer the team on to victory.

As for other cheap gifts, Zaun, Kiolbassa and Desalle said that clothing is always a good Christmas present. Chris Esmits, freshman in LAS, explained why he hopes for the most universal gift this Christmas.

“I want money,” he said. “Because I need it.”