As a college student, I am working part time and not making loads of money. Sometimes my budget can be tight, and it can be frustrating when I want to join my friends at brunch or go see a new movie. However, when I’m on a tight budget, I know there are many perks of being a college student at my school, including free things to do on campus and free stuff to receive.
Here are seven awesome college student perks that your school might offer for free or low-cost:
1. Recreation/Athletic Center
At my university, we have a gym that is open from 7 AM to 9 or 10 PM daily. There are weight rooms, ellipticals, ergs, treadmills, open basketball courts, squash courts, fields out back, and a pool. In addition to all these exercise areas, we have exercise classes from 6-10 PM Monday through Friday. I like to do yoga in order to ease my mind and get exercise in, but at local studios, one class will cost me about $15. However, my school has yoga for FREE at least once a week; and it’s awesome! The classes are entertaining and usually taught by fellow students. My friends and I love to de-stress at yoga after a long day or get our hearts pumping at spin class. The pool is also a great place to get some cardio in or just hang out with friends.
2. Campus Programming Events
One of my favorite college student perks comes from an awesome group called the Campus Programming Board. They plan events throughout the school year such as free concerts, “de-stress” days complete with massages and bamboo jars, or “taco Tuesdays” in which they buy a bunch of tacos from a nearby business and hand them out for free. Sometimes they bring in blow-up laser tag, hypnotists, or magicians. My school also does a lot of giveaways, the most popular being “grocery bingo.” It’s exactly as it sounds: you play bingo to win baskets of groceries. We also have a small fair in the fall and spring with rides, games, and prizes. Don’t pass up these awesome free events — usually held at night, when classes are over.
The campus programming at my school hosts a lot of weekend excursions. These might be close trips to the pumpkin patch, to the movies, or even crossing the border to go to the Toronto Zoo. Some of these events are free, and some are at a very reduced price; $5 for a movie and popcorn is a crowd favorite, as well as $30 to see an NFL football game. Larger trips may be sponsored by certain departments. I was fortunate enough to go on a free trip to NYC this past winter through the program house I live in. There are also trips specifically for sophomores, juniors, or seniors to places like Boston or a cruise to Mexico for a significantly reduced price.
4. Sporting Events
One of the perks of going to a Division I school is the emphasis that they place on sports. They encourage a large turnout, especially to basketball and hockey games, and for students, tickets are free. All you need to do is bring your student ID card to the game and hope for a good spot. I have been to my fair share of basketball games at my school simply to take a study break and to cheer on my team. Once there, you may even have a chance at…
5. Free Stuff
One of the best things about college is all of the “free” stuff that they hand out. Everything from pencils to food to school swag to gift cards. Look for posters around campus and read emails to see what sort of free stuff you can get ahold of. Sometimes all you have to do is show up to those free basketball games to receive a free t-shirt. And there you go! Now you don’t need to buy a workout shirt for that free Zumba class you want to attend.
Colleges have all sorts of clubs: academic, interest-oriented, sports, etc. Clubs are a great way to meet people and try new things. Clubs also offer lots of perks for usually a small due that you pay once a semester. Free food is always an incentive for me to go to a club meeting. Clubs hold many events on campus that they get funding for from the school, and sometimes they even travel. A friend of mine traveled with her club to California recently and paid significantly less than what one would expect to pay for this sort of trip. Sports clubs at my school get even more funding, and usually, participants do not have to pay any travel costs. A club might also host a guest speaker, a movie night, or a special rally at school that can score you a ton of free swag.
7. Volunteer for Open House
The office I work for at my school often is required to have a table at events such as open houses. I like to work these events because I get to interact with prospective students, but most importantly, I get free food. We usually are handed a food voucher good for $10. If you become a tour guide or volunteer for the day, you will likely get some great perks as well. Not only is there amazing food that the cafeteria would never serve to YOU, a paying student, but there are lots of free things meant to entice prospective students. At the end of the event, you might be able to go to the different tables and collect goodies. Last year, I was offered a mug, a notebook, and even a hat that was left over after the event.
Emily is a college student passionate about stretching her dollar and finding money-saving solutions every day.
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