February 5th, 2008 Jamie
Honestly, even though I’ve graduated, I still get pretty excited about a free meal. I’m starting to think that feeling never really goes away. So, whether you actually need to get food for free to stay in budget, or you just want a good free-slice-of-pizza pick-me-up, here are a few ways you can find free food on and around your college campus:
Free Food at the Cafeteria
One of the most sure-fire ways to get free food is to put in some hours working at an on-campus cafeteria. A lot of them offer free food as a benefit (it doesn’t come out of your pay or anything). I worked at the caf for about 6 months my sophomore year, and got free food every time I worked-not leftovers, either, but an actual fresh hot meal. Nice.
Be on the lookout for this any time you’re at a local restaurant or eatery of any kind-especially the smaller non-chain places. One local pizza place down here gives you a super-cheap deal if you show your ID, other places you can get a free drink.
Also, check for student discount coupon booklets. We have a free one for San Diego colleges called the Student Dollar Stretcher.
Clubs, Films, and Seminars
Most people know that the best way to draw a college crowd is free food-I’ve seen clubs offer everything from pizza to boba, and all you had to do was go to a meeting. There are also a lot of one-night seminars or film showings where free food comes in to play-they want the room full, you want a free slice of pepperoni with double cheese-it’s a match made in heaven!
Did you know there are actually websites that track free food events on college campuses? One called Hungry Hungry Coeds tracks free food offerings for a random smattering of schools-from Georgetown to UT Austin-and the upcoming free food events. (They’ve also got a pretty funny page of tips about how to get the optimal experience out of foraging for free food at school.)
**update** Wisebread recently posted a great blog article with lots of other ways for college students to eat for nothing. Make sure to browse through the comments there, too–they have some good ideas!