What makes the grass grow?

Mar 012006
Authors: David McSwane

With the increasing cost of higher education, some CSU students are struggling to get their hands on enough cash to pay for everyday things like doing laundry, filling up the gas tank, and, for a select few, supporting that marijuana habit.

"I started smoking and selling a lot of weed when I came to college," one student said. "It kind of snowballed until I sold a lot more than I smoked. I made about $150 a week to help pay for partying, concerts, dinner or to put gas in my tank."

While most students feel drug running to help cover the costs of the college lifestyle is a bit extreme, many students can appreciate the notion of getting a little creative to get a hold of some extra spending money.

Rodney Coyer, a freshman open-option seeking engineering major, has his own ideas on how to make extra cash.

Coyer noticed a coupon in a coupon book that advertised a $5 bonus to new plasma donors, so he decided to make the trip to ZLB Plasma Services on Elizabeth and Shields streets and see what the fuss was about. He now donates enough plasma to earn about $45 a week.

"I donate my plasma twice a week to earn money because I don't have a job," Coyer said. "The job market in Fort Collins is very competitive because there are so many students trying to get jobs."

Although Coyer is more than happy to get paid to sit for a couple hours with a needle in his arm, he is not afraid to get his hands a little dirty.

"Last fall, I made about $400 digging holes and planting trees," he said.

Coyer worked for a tree planting business managed by fellow CSU student and entrepreneur Aaron Rice (CQ)kd.

Rice, a freshman natural resource major, took over his father's hobby business to turn a considerable profit.

"It comes down to I have the right equipment and others don't," Rice said. "I get referrals from a nursery in Fort Collins, I employ about three other guys, and we plant some trees."

Rice is not inclined to reveal just how lucrative his business venture may be, he does say, however, his hard work is paying off in a big way.

"I was able to buy a new motorcycle with the money I made, and the ladies love it," he said.

Those students who aren't adroit businessmen, daring oddjobbers or illicit drug merchants are always encouraged to check out the student job listings on RamWeb.

Janeen Sivon, assistant director for student employment, said the key to finding a more traditional means of income is persistence.

"The main thing we tell students is to make sure to check RamWeb a lot," Sivon said. "Keep checking all the time because jobs come and go."

Even the student employment listings, however, have rendered some rather unconventional employment options to students.

RamWeb is currently listing a job offer from CyroGam Colorado, a privately owned sperm bank in Loveland. The listing offers $45 per donation for adults between the ages of 18 and 35, and the notion of sperm donations has attracted the attention of many college-age males with a need for some quick cash.

CyroGam manager and owner, Betsy Cairo, said the process isn't quite as easy as many students think it to be. In fact, CyroGam turns down approximately 85 percent of its applicants, and the cash flow is far from speedy.

"A lot of students call before Spring Break expecting to make a lot of money but it's a long process," Cairo said. "The process requires a commitment of donating once a week for six months."

Despite the six-month commitment, many students think sperm donation would be an almost effortless and painless means of making a quick penny. Some students, like freshman engineering major Isaac Burbank, have found some philanthropic justifications for donating.

"There are lots of families out there who have always dreamed of having babies but just can't for various reasons," Burbank said. "Someone needs to donate sperm, and I need some extra cash to pay for everyday things."

Many students, however, choose not to deposit their sperm due to ethical qualms with the process.

"I just don't want a bunch of little me's running around out there," said sophomore English major Sean Reed. "I just think it's weird."

David McSwane can be reached at regional@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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