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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN The Huntington News, Sept. 20, 2012

By Sara Tucker, News Correspondent 

Northeastern students are already on the lookout for fun ways to spend their fall days this semester. Concerts and parties, festivals and expositions; it seems like there’s always something to do in Boston.

This weekend, Microsoft SkyDrive will present Boston’s annual CollegeFest at the Hynes Convention Center.

CollegeFest is well known as a paradise of free stuff, but there will also be musical performances and new vendors offering services, such as the GE Garage.

Dineen Boyle, a public relations representative for GE through the company InkHouse, says the garage is “a hands-on pop-up lab,” where those interested can “custom laser cut your laptop, mold a case for your iPhone, weld bike racks for campus… discover modem prototyping, [and] out-of-the-box manufacturing processes … from local Boston technologists,” all for free.

The event is situated within walking distance from campus, but students from over 60 Boston-area colleges will make their way to the convention center, with an estimated 17,000 people expected to attend.

Many NEU students are already planning for the event.

“All my friends and I are going to share a good college experience,” freshman business and finance major Roberto Lopez said.

Freshman international business major Mackenzie Iemma noticed a table set up outside the Stetson residence halls last week that was giving away free tickets in exchange for liking and sharing CollegeFest on Facebook. She came back from breakfast with a free ticket and plans for next weekend.

“It’s free, a good way to branch out, and a fun way to make new friends,” Iemma said.

Students interested in getting a ticket can purchase it online at collegefest.com/tickets for a $15 weekend pass or at the event for $15 per day.

Starting at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, 17 locally and internationally known bands and DJs will be performing, along with over 25 local acts. Acts including Wale, the Cataracs, Kap Slap, Kel Mitchell, Derek D, E-Marce, Na Palm, and the Electric Sons will take the stage next weekend.

Headliner Wale, the newly popular Nigerian rapper, was voted the most anticipated artist in a poll conducted earlier this week on CollegeFest’s Facebook page, and will be performing at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The Cataracs will be performing at 5 p.m. Sunday. The duo is known for their hip hop, yet indie style featuring popular artists.

In addition to the performers, vendors will be around all weekend to help stock dorms with everything students need.

There will be food vendors such as Sabra, California Pizza Kitchen, Jamba Juice, Monster Energy Drink and Haru Sushi ready to satisfy cravings.

There will be music vendors like Capital Records, charity events like Pencils of Promise, games like Bananagrams and many others. There will also be free giveaways at many of the vendors’ booths.

In addition to GE Garage, there will be other electronic and Internet-related vendors including Foursquare, Virgin Mobile, awesome.me, Pixxlz, Tell, FreezeCrowd, Tip Tap and Microsoft Sky Drive.

Whether students are into music and free products, or just looking to have a good time with friends, this weekend’s CollegeFest provides a fun alternative to staying on campus.

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