With the high availability of free, but often illegal, content on the Internet, college students continue to pursue cheaper alternatives to seeing movies in theater.
Resident Life Cinema, a part of University of Tennessee libraries, is giving students a legal way to give their wallets some relief.
The program, unveiled this summer, streams select feature films for free from anywhere on campus.
This service began in response to student requests, according to Steve Milewski, Resident Life Cinema coordinator. There are more than 30,000 educational video streams on campus, and Milewski said these feature films were added in the hope to improve the quality of student life.
Available films vary each month. In September, the most viewed film was "Django Unchained." This month's films included "Insidious," "Now You See Me" and "Les Miserables."
Karson Marsh, senior in marketing, has watched films, including "Silver Linings Playbook," through Resident Life Cinema and said she appreciates this new aspect of the library services.
"I think it makes this a more socialization-friendly campus," Marsh said. "Not that we weren't before, but now the library is promoting things that students can spend time enjoying that isn't for a grade."
Charles Maland, professor of film studies, said although these films do not directly relate to students' grades, there is educational gain to many of the films available. Maland is one of the various people who suggest films to feature each month and said he likes to include films that contribute to the history of American art.
Film, Maland said, along with jazz, are two of the most important American art forms of the 20th and 21st centuries.
"It's good for educated and curious Americans to know something about the contributions of our artists to cinema and music," Maland said. "To me, the films I suggest are educational in a certain sense, too. They're cultural documents. At the same time, they're works of popular art."
In celebration of Halloween, Maland suggested "Psycho" and "Carrie" this month. For October, Maland chose films from the '70s, including "Annie Hall" and "American Graffiti," that students may not have seen before.
For Marsh, this wide variety of films allows her to watch films she has never seen before. To a student like Marsh, an RA in Laurel Hall, the major benefit of Resident Life Cinema is the convenience.
"I like the opportunity to watch movies that I don't have to pay for or leave my room to watch," Marsh said.
Films requested for the month of November include "After Earth," "The Conjuring," "The Hangover III," "This is the End," "The Purge" and "Pacific Rim," Milewski said.
These will be on a completed list of 26 films.
During finals week in December, the flicks will be replaced by 12 different films. They can be streamed at movies.utk.edu from any location on campus.
Mikewski said the response so far has been great and hopes services such as Resident Life Cinema create a feeling of home on campus.
"We want to create an environment where students are comfortable on campus," Milewski said. "It's a good place to be."