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DVD rental service available in LaFortune

Jeannine Privat | Thursday, August 26, 2004

Once, students with late-night movie quote disputes had to scour multiple DVD collections or hitch a ride to Blockbuster to settle the score.

Now, the search is over, thanks to the $2.99 a night DVD rental from the new Huddle Video in LaFortune’s Huddle Mart.

Customers can’t miss the free-standing rack placed directly in the center of the Huddle that holds a collection of over 300 DVDs. The titles range from newly-released films like “Starsky & Hutch to old classics like “Rocky” and Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.”

The selection will increase with the addition of recent movies, which is contingent upon the success of the venture.

From 2 p.m. until the Huddle closes, students will be able to borrow DVDs, with rentals due by the following midnight. Though off-campus commercial rental stores’ late fees are often lower than the $4 that Huddle Video charges, many students, including junior Tom Schreck, found the price “pretty reasonable.”

Huddle general manager James LaBella said the relatively steep late fee was chosen to encourage prompt returns. After doing research on other universities’ video rentals, he discovered the main problem with renting DVDs was getting them handed back on time.

“I really don’t want to collect fees. I really just want the movies returned,” LaBella said.

To rent DVDs, students must fill out a short registration form at the Huddle with information that will be entered into the Huddle Video database to make future rentals quick and simple.

Almost 200 students are already in the system, and LaBella encourages students to pre-register to make the first rental hassle-free.

The concept of an on-campus DVD rental option was an integral part of student body president Adam Istvan’s platform in last year’s election.

“[Istvan] wanted to do this for a long time,” chief executive assistant of student government David Baron said. “It’s just been a matter of getting the money.”

When he was a Huddle student manager, Istvan and LaBella talked about starting a rental service. After the election, Istvan and vice president Karla Bell pushed to have the project’s $7500 start-up cost included in the 2004-05 budget, and worked during the summer to ensure the collection would be ready for the start of school.

“I’m just glad we got it off the ground,” Istvan said. “It’ll be a great convenience for students.”