I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream — especially when it’s free.
On Tuesday, the Franklin Street Ben and Jerry's will be giving away free cones from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free Cone Day started on Ben & Jerry’s one year anniversary as a way for them to say thank you and give back to the community.
Store Manager Mallory Sturdivant said the Franklin Street store usually sees around 4,000 to 5,000 students on Free Cone Day.
“Last year, we did about 3,500, and it was rainy too, so hopefully the rain will not come, and we can get back to our normal standards,” Sturdivant said.
To keep up with the rush, the store makes sure to have all hands on deck and tells the staff they cannot take the day off. Sturdivant said she makes sure to keep everyone's morale up, motivating them with food in the back and cranking up the music to keep energy high.
Each Ben & Jerry’s also partners with a nonprofit in the community as a way to help raise awareness and funds for them.
“It’s obviously a giant marketing day for us, which just kind of happens when you give out free ice cream, but by partnering with somebody, we get to let them have a marketing day for themselves, and they get to ask for donations and raise money for their organizations,” Sturdivant said.
For the past two and a half years, the Franklin Street Ben & Jerry’s has partnered with Musical Empowerment, a student organization that provides over 130 youth from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area with free, one-on-one music lessons. The lessons are provided by students from UNC and takes place at the University United Methodist Church on Franklin Street.
“First and foremost, we are not a music organization — we are a mentorship organization, and we work hard to create meaningful and positive relationships between our teachers and students,” said Co-President Evan Linett.
Musical Empowerment has helped with Free Cone Day by contacting several groups on campus and asking them to perform, such as the UNC Clef Hangers, Achordants, Tarpeggios, Cadence and the Final Five Brass Quintet. Some of the Empowerment students will also be playing throughout the day.
“To me, Ben & Jerry's serves the community first and ice cream second," Linett said. "Finding partners with this forward-looking and service-based mentality is really important to our program. As the partner for Free Cone Day, we want to make sure the campus and community get involved in this day of cones and celebration."
Students on campus are also excited to snag a free cone and support a community organization.
“It’s a great way to publicize an already successful brand and it's also fun to see the Chapel Hill community all come out for some sweets,” sophomore Lizzi Gibson said. “During the school year, I think there's a bigger sense of the UNC community and coming to events like Free Cone Day isn't just about getting free cones but participating in that community, too."
Sophomore Ben Thyer said he is also excited for the free ice cream, especially as the weather is getting warmer.
"It’s at such a perfect time because the weather is just getting warm, and exams are looming, but they’re not quite here yet, so it’s just the perfect time to take a break from studying to walk out and enjoy some ice cream."
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