How to eat for free
Everybody has had this experience: you get to the dining hall only to realize that you’ve run out of meals for the week. The line of people behind you stare, laughing and waiting for you to get out of their way. You are both humiliated and hungry. This is a common occurrence if you don’t have the unlimited meal plan. Usually, you’ll use a guest pass, but what happens when you run out of those?
The university offers a lot of on campus events that have food and catering for free, where you can go eat and not use up all your meals or points. Even without events, you can always take tupperware to the dining hall and sneak some snacks or bagels out in your backpack. Since it’s an all-you-care-to-eat style, this makes it easier for you to have a readily available meal.
The Poet Laureate event Thursday was hosted by the English Department. Many departments will have speeches or activities like this, and they almost always offer food. This event had cakes, cookies, lemonade and sandwiches, which was great for somebody like me who had just run to the event from the gym, and was starving. I ate a whole meal in cookies and sandwiches while listening to beautiful poetry and a great speech, all for free.
Purnell 115 always has a business group sitting outside of it, giving out free food for filling out surveys about how much you enjoy your math course. They have bagels, hummus and pita bread and pizza, just to name some of the food up for grabs last week. This is great for when you have a class in Purnell, but no time for breakfast or lunch.
Last spring, events in the World Kitchen series featured music, food, people and culture from a different country each month. Just sign up for free, and spend a night eating food from a different culture. They have activities that are common for the country of that month, like games that the kids of that country will play. On a Turkish music and food night, we painted plates with coffee to form flowers and birds, and we made food art with hummus and pita. Theys showcased a famous female drummer from Turkey, who performed while we sat, ate, listened and enjoyed.
Try to get involved with some RSOs or sports. Some meetings usually have food, and they’ll meet about once a week at a good hour to be eating dinner. The HOLA club has chips and salsa at all of their meetings. Not only is this a great way to have free food for a night, but you’ll meet new people and make friends too, while participating in something you enjoy and contributing to discussions.
Any RSO you are a part of will have food during special events too, and some club events are open to the public – invite your friends and they can also eat for free. On Fridays the Entrepreneurship Club has “Free Lunch Fridays” that are open to all students, where you can go eat, talk, learn and connect with an entrepreneur. They always seem to have some fun international occasion to celebrate.
Not all events are during lunch or dinner time, either. There are breakfast meetings and dessert meetings and sometimes even meetings that just have popsicles or salsa for a snack on your way to class. All that really matters is that your classes don’t fall on all of the event times, or you’ll be stuck to hoping your meal plan lasts the whole week.
It might be a little harder than running over to the P.O.D. and grabbing a sandwich or some sushi, but it’s a lot more fun, too. Grab some friends and go learn about culture, entrepreneurship, economics or even cooking. Not only is it fun and educational, but also the cheapest option too, since it’s free. The university has numerous events happening all throughout the semester, all you have to do is find them.