When you’re busy studying for exams or just feel too lazy to cook, there are many options for free food- even gourmet options around the medical center and the Vanderbilt undergraduate campus. In fact, there was a guy who once lived of free food on campus for a week (and didn’t die). I don’t think you all should stoop to those levels, but there is a ton of free eats here. Let’s first start with events in Light Hall, where you will spend most of your time your first year in lectures, small-groups, and seminars.
In the Fall while you study biochemistry and microbiology with your classmates in the Eskind library, you’ll also be able to take opportunity of the free lunches offered by the different clubs and interest groups. These organizations (20+ interest groups, 20+ extracurriculars) hold their introductory meetings during this time and offer pizza, catered Mediterranean food, Subway, Qdoba, and snacks while you learn about their mission and goals. The Wellness Team also offers free food during happy hours and has “Social Rounds” once or twice a month for students’ snacking pleasures.
In September, there is COLLEGE CUP. The annual event not only pits the four colleges against each other in a battle of brains, brawn, and beauty, but also your taste buds against free chili, Chick-fil-a, and desserts. If you come on time for the Iron Chef judgings, you’ll also be able to taste some of your peers’ own creations. After the entertaining awards show, everyone goes down to Cabana’s for more free food and drinks.
In October and November, pick up a free pumpkin on the HoneySuckle Hill Farm and watch some fireworks with your friends. The SEC schedule for Vandy football heats up during this time, and you can also get hooked up with some free food at tailgates and free food samples given out by restaurants around the area (there was steak and mashed potatoes once). You can get a free turkey given out to all VUMC employees as part of a giveaway, and try to hit up some of the Wellness Team’s foodie events for the winter – a lock-in with yoga, video games, and pizza! Then before the holidays, many clubs and even some medical departments will have holiday parties – I’ve gotten free Hattie B’s (hot chicken), turkey, and other catered food.
It gets a little bit tougher in the Spring and Summer, as a lot of upper-years are off campus for interviews, aways, etc. This is when you should hit up undergrad events, especially multicultural events that offer ethnic food. The Student Life Center (SLC), right next to the Veterans Affairs hospital, features many cultural nights—Malaysian, Latin American food (and free salsa lessons), hot chicken cultural night, and numerous others. Often people assume you have to be an undergraduate, but that is absolutely not the case. Go with a couple of friends and enjoy the free dinners!
Free food is wellness, and wellness is happiness, so be sure to take a note of all the academic and culinary opportunities at Vanderbilt!