How to take advantage of the best free stuff this fall
In my time at UVic, I have learned many things, but arguably none more valuable than where to find the best free stuff on campus. And let me tell you, there is no better time of the year for acquiring things you need for no money (the legal way, at least) than in the first few weeks of the new term.
With everything you’ll have to pay for at UVic — tuition, textbooks, and even the ability to graduate — there’s nothing better than the stuff you won’t have to shell out your hard-earned cash for. Here’s some of the best opportunities you shouldn’t miss out on in the first weeks of this semester.
Forgot to stock up on supplies before the bookstore got swamped? Don’t worry — you’ll see plenty of booths and tables with free pens, post-it notes, water bottles, and bags during the first month of classes. The Clubs and Course Union days (September 11 and 12 in the Student Union Building (SUB)) are probably the best opportunity for this — where else will you get a branded pen from nearly every political party in Canada AND a new frisbee?
You can also pick up a new UVSS-branded planner at the SUB. The best part of the agenda isn’t how on top of things you’ll be (before you inevitably forget about it of course) but the many coupons it contains. Cut those bad boys out and get ready for discounts galore.
Also, did you know students can get Microsoft Office for free? Just head to Microsoft’s website to apply with your UVic email. Although the Google Suite is also free, and is frankly much better.
Health and wellness
One of the most underrated resources for free essentials on campus is the Gender Empowerment Centre (GEM) on the main floor of the SUB. GEM is stocked with tampons, pads, menstrual cups, and emergency contraceptives for anyone who needs them. To have access to those last two, you’ll need to speak to GEM’s coordinator, but they are also happy to answer any questions you might have. There are also condoms available outside of UVic Pride’s office in the SUB.
For mental health or trauma support, head to the Peer Support Centre and/or the Anti-Violence Project in the basement of the SUB. There you’ll also find the Food Bank and Free Store, which keeps their shelves well-stocked for members of the UVic community.
You can drop by the Interfaith Chapel for free meditation sessions, yoga classes, and spirit walks. September 18 is the start of their weekly Pet Cafes, which will run until the first week of December. Who wouldn’t want to meet some cute therapy animals while enjoying free coffee, tea, and cookies?
Did you know you can get free tickets to Vikes games with your student ID? You also have access to most of the recreation facilities on campus, including the ice rink, pool, and squash courts. Even without a CARSA membership, all students have access to the equipment rental centre at the gym — where everything from basketballs to camping gear is available.
On September 5, you can catch Shrek on the big screen at the UVSS’ annual Movie in the Quad. Also, there’s free popcorn if you bring a non-perishable food item for the UVic Food Bank. With how much a movie and popcorn costs in real theatres, this is a pretty good deal.
Finally, probably the best free stuff anyone can offer you at UVic is food. Most of the faculties host welcome events in the first month of classes with free food — usually pizza or barbeque — to entice students to mingle with their professors and peers. If you’re a fan of pizza, the Martlet always has free pizza and soda for everyone who helps out with copy editing our latest issue every other Tuesday night in B011 (right beside the Tim Hortons).
If you stop by the SUB bright and early on September 4, there’ll be free pancakes served up by your UVSS Board of Directors and volunteers from 8 to 11 a.m. UVic’s radio station CFUV 101.9 FM will be DJing a mix for the morning.
Last but not least, you can find free slushies in the Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) building on Fridays. Technically, you’re supposed to be an Engineering student, although anonymous Engineering student sources have told us that no one checks to ensure this. I’ll leave it up to your discretion as to what to do with this information.