Let’s be honest, food is the only surefire way to attract college students anywhere. In the beginning of the year, with so many events happening it’s nearly impossible to go a day without having had at least one free meal. If you are purposely seeking them out, however, it is possible to go an entire week (or more) without paying a cent for food.
Whether you are a freshman wanting to save your meal plan or a senior desperately trying to avoid more debt, you can benefit from my list of the best ways to eat for free on campus (and be a good student at the same time).
Go to university-sponsored events, which almost always have free food. Better yet, events early in the year are larger in scale and typically offer more quality choices such as sandwiches, hot dogs, fried chicken, donuts, cookies, and ice cream.
Where to find events: Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) website and the Ohio Union events calendar
Example events: Fall Involvement Fair, Buck-I-Frenzy, OUAB Flicks for Free
Go to college-sponsored events. In addition to university involvement fairs and activities, individual colleges will usually host their own fairs to welcome the students. These events are on a slightly smaller scale, so expect less hot dogs and more pizza.
Where to find events: Event calendars on the colleges’ websites and emails sent out by the individual departments
Example events: Fisher Fall Frenzy (business college)
Go to society-sponsored events. By society-sponsored, I’m referring to academic organizations that are larger than student clubs. Examples include the honors and scholars societies on campus. The quality of food ranges depending on the size of the organizations, so expect anything from hand-made burritos to pizza.
Where to find events: society websites, such as the website for Honors and Scholars
Example events: Honors Involvement Fair
Go to meet-the-faculty events. Every month, the individual colleges will host informal meet-and-greet sessions with the faculty and staff. Not only are they a great way to network with professors, researchers, and other academic professionals, but it’s also a great time to enjoy some quality (usually fancy) treats guilt-free.
Where to find events: Emails sent out by the individual departments or colleges
Example events: Donuts with the Dean
Go to alumni events. The Student Alumni Council frequently hosts both formal and informal events for students to network with alumni. As with any standard networking event, there is always food involved to ease the initial awkwardness.
Where to find events: Events calendar on the Student-Alumni Council website
Example events: Dinner for 12 Buckeyes
Go to student organization meetings. This is really a no-brainer, because if you have ever gone to a student org meeting you will know that there is almost always pizza served. Sometimes, if the org is financially well-off, you may even enjoy a greater selection of eats, such as fried chicken or Chinese food.
Where to find events: Weekly emails sent out from colleges with information about meetings
Example events: Almost any general meeting with a student org
Go to student hot-spots. It has been my experience that even if an event is not listed on the OSU events calendar, there can still be free food involved. If it’s a dry day and there appears to be nothing scheduled, walk through areas that are most popular on campus. Chances are, there is some sort of activity happening that did not make it on the news bulletins.
Where to find events: Popular campus areas such as the Ohio Union, the Oval, and the Wexner center
Example events: Student orgs performing random acts of kindness
Do not underestimate the power of social media! There are often times when events are advertised on Facebook or Twitter as opposed to the Ohio Union event calendar, so be sure to check events popular in your network to see what activities are going on that you can attend and grab a bite at.
If you follow every tip on this list, you will soon find yourself eating more free food than you ever thought possible. The side effect? You will also become one of the most involved students on campus. A win-win.
The college food pyramid
Advice, Author, Campus Life, Food, nutrition, Personal, School Spirit, Student Life, Student orgs