How to Eat for Free Everyday (at a University)

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Introduction: How to Eat for Free Everyday (at a University)

I go to the University of Colorado at Boulder. Every day there are dozens of events with free food waiting to be eaten by hungry engineering students. All you have to do is know where to go! This is my first instructable, but I've found it invaluable. I've gone for weeks without paying for food using this method (although weekends are harder to get through).

I think some of these steps may seem like I'm plugging google, but really its only because that's the application I used to get so much free food. By the way, this can work for non-students too; they never (repeat... never) check for students IDs at these events, at least at the University of Colorado. If you know how to make a google calendar and share it with people, you can skip steps 1-3.

By the way the "Grad Wine and Cheese" event in my calendar is real, and was incredibly delicious, as well as intoxicating (there aren't a lot of Religious Studies grad students, and they had way too much wine). By the way, I'm an Aerospace Engineering senior. I only wish I could have though this up sooner.

Step 1: Get a Gmail Account

There may be other mail clients with calendar services, but I've found this is the easiest to use and share with friends, which is an important aspect of this instructable. Go to mail.google.com and click on the "Sign up for Gmail" link. You will have to enter some personal information like any other mail client, but it's worth it.

Step 2: Create a Google Calendar

Make a calendar on your gmail account. This isn't too hard to do. Once in your mail client, click on the "Calendar" link at the top of the page. A new page should open with your calendar client. Click on the "create" button in the "My calendars" panel towards the left side of the window.

This should open a new window. Name your calendar, give it a good description and click on the "Create Calendar" button.

Step 3: Share the Calendar With 4-6 Friends

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!!! Share this calendar with a few friends. Tell them to add any free food events to the calendar that they come across. Soon, you will have a massive amount of free food events on this calendar to attend whenever you feel hungry.

To share with friends, they will also need gmail accounts. Go make to the main calendar window and click on the "Settings" button, which should be to the left of the "Create" button used in step 2. This will open a new window that can be used to give your friends access to the calendar. Make sure to change their permission settings so that they can edit the calendar as well as see it.

Step 4: Where to Find Events

Events with food can be found just about anywhere. The following is just a small list. Most of these events are going to be presentations by companies that want you to work there. What they don't know is that you hate working.

*Bulletin Boards
*Career Bulletins - Sent out by CU's Career Services
*Mailing Lists - Look for alumni lists, great catered food
*On Campus Religion - Jesus is delicious
*Employer Presentations - There are hundreds of these
*Science Presentations/Seminars
*Talks by Famous People - Usually not famous enough to lack the necessary attraction of food.

Look for things out of the ordinary. Pizza can get old for some people (not me).

Step 5: EAT!!!!!!!

After my friends picked up on the brilliance of my idea, the calendar started picking up steam. Here's a clip of the current week.

Yesterday for example, I stole some pizza from the Puget Sound Navel Shipyard presentation, stopped by the Hillel (a christian fraternity thing, I don't really know) for some BBQ, and then topped myself off at the Jewish temple with some Chabad food. The day before I had sushi. Add some events and eventually your friends will catch on.

Be sure not to share with too many people, otherwise all the food will be gone. Also keep in mind that you don't have to be a college student for this to work. I've seen a lot of suspiciously older people in some of these events that seem to have been doing this for a while. Good luck and happy hunting!

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    52 Comments

    Although I haven't done this in a few years, this still works in plenty of places:

    Call first, and explain how the fast-food place mangled your order*. Ask for them to replace the missing Quarter Pounder or whatever. When they agree, leave your name. Then, go there and collect!

    *There have been numerous times when I really was shorted but didn't bother to try to get it corrected. This makes up for those times- if you need justification.

    I actually read through all of the comments, as the first several were rife with grammatical, punctuation, and (basic) spelling errors, from either (self professed) college students or college graduates. It's time to take some English and composition classes, people!

    1 reply

    Not everyone is from English-speaking country. And not everyone is native English speaker. Understand it :)

    The sad part is that even after you graduate from "engineering school" you'll still need to find a way to eat for free.

    Nah, it's no different than watching a commercial but not buying the product. Those 'free' events are all promotional events. No one is disillusioned enough to realized that 100% of the people eating are going to be 100% involved with the event. Besides, it's not like the money wasn't already allotted and people go there and have nothing to eat.

    Hmm my wife then girlfriend got invited to events for foreign students all the time (at OSU). We then discovered how much free food their really was. I was always worried I'd get throw off campus if I went to things every day.

    Facebook has a lot of these already grouped and listed for you. Like https://www.facebook.com/gsucampusevents I think Ill look for these on the weekends. I might have to dress up professorly though.

    My University doesn't even have any "clubs" or events, so this wouldn't work for me at all, but it is great advice for most American Universities.

    Good luck! I just graduating last spring, and had a good amount of offers, so I don't think the job market is as bad as a lot of people think. I did it because I thought it was pretty broad and I didn't know what I wanted to do after college. One warning: it was insanely difficult! I didn't have much of a life through college.

    If I had to do it all over again I'd go into aero and target private space oriented companies like Virgin Galactic. Just send resumes to all entries on this list:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_companies

    "Hillel" is actually Jewish, not Christian. It's a nation wide campus foundation for Jewish students. Otherwise, great idea! I definitely think this would work at my college!

    2 replies

    Don't forget to ask for the free Bris kit!

    I love this... "What they don't know is that you hate working." LOL

    that is so serious. never knew that. Won't it be a bit tooo abusive

    1 reply

    Abusive of what or whom? He's not costing anyone anything. There's ALWAYS more food than the audience will eat at these things, so he's not depriving anyone.