Food on the block plan can be tricky without a meal plan. Going out to eat whenever you’re too lazy to cook may not be an option for everyone, nor may buying expensive pre-prepared meals from the grocery store. Finding time to cook is also a task, especially on the block plan.

Instead of searching for new quick and cheap recipes every week, take advantage of all the free food that surrounds us at CC. Free food is literally everywhere. You just have to know where to look and be willing to learn something.

Whether you’re gluten-free, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, or an omnivore, the following tips can usually land you free food or snacks on most days.


1. Read the listserv

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You know that email you get every morning at 6am? There are a ton of events posted there, making it your prime resource for free food.

2. Join Food Finder

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Sometimes there are events catered for staff meetings, information sessions, and student club meetings that end up with a ton of leftovers. The majority of Food Finder posts are to combat this type of waste. Other times, someone will promote their catered event. Both types of posts are reasons to celebrate.

3. Go to your department’s office during break

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Most departments have snacks or candy in the office and they welcome students, whether its your department or the department of the class you’re taking.

The ID house/FemGen department usually has some candies or animal crackers and tea. Another big winner is the biology department, which, on top of Easter candies, has had non-Oreo brand oreos and goldfish this block.

The Anthropology department is famous for top-of-the-line snacks. They supposedly lost their snack funding, though I find this hard to believe based on what I’ve eaten there this block. It’s always worth it to check if you’re nearby, especially on Fridays.

If you’re into coffee, lots of departments stock up. Go explore.

4. Go to the Language House events

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Photo by Sara Venturelli

The German House hosts Kaffeeklatsch the first three Wednesdays of the block at 3:30 pm with coffee, tea, and pastries. Sometimes they have guest speakers come in, like this week where a man who lived in Germany during WWII came to speak.

The Russian House hosts Russian Tea at 3:30 pm the first three Thursdays of the block. Sometimes there are guest/student speakers and sometimes they play Russian games.

The Italian House hosts an Espresso Session second Mondays at 2 pm. They also host cooking labs on the occasional Wednesday. Keep up with their events by following their Facebook page.

Recent labs have included hand-rolling gnocchi, making ravioli from scratch, and learning how to cook polenta. It doesn’t get better than this.

5. Swing by the Worner Desk

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People leave all sorts of goodies at the Worner Desk as a free-for-all. Most often there is pizza. Once there was even a few slices of a vegan pizza up there.

Another advantage to stopping by Worner is to see if Carnivore Club is grilling. This happens increasingly more often as the weather gets warmer.

6. Go to sporting events

As you’ll see in the listserv, there is often a BBQ at sports events on campus such as soccer and lacrosse games.

7. Make friends with people who have a lot of meal plan money

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Late spring is prime time. Many people had leftover money from fall that they never went through. By this time of year some people have $500+ extra and they’re happy to swipe you if you’re kind and not imposing.

While the system needs people to be on the meal plan to make our dining system work, if you’re running short or don’t have one there’s no harm in taking advantage of all the free events on campus. At most events, you can even fuel your brain while you fuel your belly.

Happy hunting.