It’s that time of the year again–back to school! The first few weeks of college can be exciting for anyone, freshmen and seniors alike, because they are lots of things going on. New roommates, student organization fairs, fun campus events, and most importantly–loads of FREE STUFF!
That one four-letter word is like music to the ears of college students–free! Sophomores, juniors, and seniors might be familiar with all of the goodies and deals they can pick up on, but freshmen might not. So we’ve compiled a list of the places you might be able to grab some good loot for the low, low price of $0.00.
The giveaway stuff can be anything from office supplies, to t-shirts, to coupons, to food (arguably the best one of all). So take advantage of the free stuff, because they can actually save you quite a bit of money in the long run. (I still have the mini-stapler I got at orientation five years ago.)
This is the motherload for free stuff. They’ll practically throw gear at you, ready to bedeck you from head to toe in school spirit. You’ll be able to put off laundry for a while with all the t-shirts they’ll hand out. You’ll also have some school colored beads for game day, as well as temporary tattoos of your mascot. Posters are pretty common too, so you can slap them on your dorm wall. In addition to school spirit stuff, you’ll also likely get practical gifts like water bottles, school supplies, and event calendars.
Student Organization Fairs
During the first week or so, many student organizations will set up booths or events to try and recruit new students to their cause. Whether it’s a hobby group or a social activism one, many love handing out free gear to their potential recruits. Things like buttons, sunglasses, and pens are common.
Local Shop / Restaurant Deals
Colleges aren’t the only ones who get in on the free stuff hype. Many local food vendors and shops will also give away some gifts. Coupons are pretty popular, as are free samples and special deals for students. In fact, many restaurants will cater the different on-campus events those first few days that many college students don’t stock up on groceries. (A friend of mine refers to “Syllabus Week” as “Free Food Week” and doesn’t bother going to the store.)
Colleges will host special events for their students, like concerts, outdoor movies, obstacle courses, water balloon fights, or other fun activities. Not only are these typically free and a great source of stress relief, but most of the time they also come with free stuff. Whether sponsored purely by the university or partnered with some sort of company or group, the student always comes out on top when they can leave with some new gear. (We had yoga in the park event where the first 100 students got a free yoga mat, water bottle, and bags upon bags of fresh granola.)
In addition to your excitement about moving into your dorm or apartment, starting new classes, making new friends, and starting a new chapter in your life–get hyped for all the free stuff coming your way. Make sure you take advantage of the plunder because it can end up saving your wallet a pretty penny, especially if you use the gear for a long time.