Jaleria Rivera, Chattanooga, Tenn. – Ah, college. The one place where students will pimp themselves out for a slice of pizza.

For a vast majority of broke college students, food accounts for more than half of our measly salaries. It breaks our hearts to spend money on textbooks, rent or gas. However if you invite us out to eat, we will spend $20 without skipping a beat.

There are memes, gifs and YouTube rants complaining about the struggles of being broke and hungry in college. Nothing is worse than pulling an all nighter on an empty stomach.

Despite the constant desire for more hours in a day, students are willing to sacrifice their valuable time for a free meal. In order to conserve pennies, many students grasp every opportunity to obtain free food by attending an uninteresting club meeting, helping with a fellow student’s homework or even getting a haircut.

“I’m a college student; I don’t have money for that,” is an all too common excuse.

For Katie Rouse, from Morristown, N.J., it was the sole reason as to why she refused to get a haircut after her mother pleaded. It wasn’t until her mother said the sweet words, “I’ll pay for your groceries,” that she sprinted to the nearest Super Cuts.

However, over the years, college students have become picky. In a street study, students were asked “What type of food are you more inclined to halt your schedule for?”

Unfortunately, pizza is no longer a show stopper. Students want more unique options such as “chimichangas” or “a cookie bar.” Overall, the main consensus is that students want an experience.

All the same, food serves as a universal form of currency. It removes the awkwardness of exchanging money and encourages the development of a deeper connection.

“By sharing a meal, you are inadvertently taking care of someone,” said Hadley Parker, from Morristown, Tenn.

For example, a friend once drove over an hour to visit Parker. Instead of giving $15 for gas, she cooked chicken parmesan as a token of gratitude.

In a multitude of cases, a home cooked meal is more valuable than money. It bridges the opportunity for people to understand other’s customs and beliefs. For instance, a vast majority of students are more inclined to visit family if there is a homecooked meal or a free grocery trip involved.

Between the mountainous piles of homework and the burden of student debt, college students deserve a free pancake station rendezvous.