MTSU Free Food Guide

COP Pop-In Scheduling Event in BAS South Lobby. Free Popcorn and water are handed out to students thus giving the school a chance to ask students about scheduling an advisor meeting. Photo by Eric Sutton.

The college student’s hunt for free food is never-ending. Fortunately, MTSU offers plenty of great opportunities to grab a free bite over the course of the semester; from on-the-go snacks to full meals, there’s always some kind of nourishing nibble to be found on campus. Read below for eight of the best places to get free food at MTSU!

Connection Point Events

MTSU Connection Point is a special-events program prepared by the school each semester, including everything from the Week of Welcome, football tailgates, employment fairs, and residence hall activities. Most of these programs feature all kinds of food, from fresh-grilled burgers to hot cocoa and cookies. If you’re a freshman, you’re required to go to a certain number of Connection Point events each semester anyway, so why not grab some food while you’re there? Even if you’re an upperclassmen, these activities are great opportunities to make new friends, win some prizes, and get FREE FOOD! Click here to get the upcoming Connection Point schedule for Fall 2018.

Student Organization Fairs

Hundreds of students mingle Tuesday, Jan. 24, during the spring Student Organization Fair inside the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

If you take a stroll through the student union during most weeks of the semester, chances are you’ll see students at folding tables representing different organizations, SGA candidates, or charitable causes. Many of the tables at such events will offer you a free snack if you just stop by and chat, or perhaps sign a petition for their cause. Student organization fairs are generally the largest such events, but there’s almost always someone tabling in the student union year-round. Not only are these good snacking opportunities, but they offer great chances at networking as well, so grab a cookie and make some new connections!

Department Events

Want a chance to grab some food and hang out with your professors? Ask about any upcoming events your department might be hosting. Many departments host mixers, interest meetings, seminars, and even get-togethers at professors’ houses, most of which will include refreshments of some sort. Be on the lookout for your department’s annual advising fair, as well; most departments host at least one a year, offering students the chance to figure out their classes while snacking on burgers and popcorn. Also, some departments will offer their students free coffee and donuts at some point during finals week, usually in the department lounge or main office. Check with your department chair or office manager for information about such events.

Exam Jam

There’s one bright spot in the flurry of finals’ week stress: the great Exam Jam! This once-a-semester event features a free nighttime breakfast buffet at McCallie’s dining hall. It also includes music, games, prizes (be on the lookout for free T-shirts!) and activities like temporary tattoos and face-painting. Though it’s only once a semester, you’ll get platefuls of yummies and plenty of great memories from Exam Jam, so don’t miss out!

Blood Drives 

American Red Cross phlebotomist Alisa Waller, left, prepares MTSU junior Daniel Sargent, a native of Portland, Tenn., majoring in leisure, sport and tourism studies, to donate red blood cells Monday, Nov. 13, during the 2017 “Bleed Blue, Beat WKU” blood drive in the Recreation Center. Sargent was one of 461 successful donors at MTSU Nov. 13-15, pushing the university community to its fifth win over Western Kentucky in the seven-year competition. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Looking for an event that will offer you free snacks, a free T-shirt, and a worthy cause? Look no further than campus blood drives! The most popular blood drive at MTSU is the annual “Bleed Blue to Beat WKU” blood drive, which takes place each fall before the MTSU vs. WKU football game. The two schools compete to collect the most units of donated blood for the American Red Cross. The best part? MTSU offers free pizza, candy, juice, and T-shirts to its participating students. The school hosts other blood drives throughout the year as well, each featuring an array of snacks and shirts for donors. While this unconventional opportunity isn’t for the needle-shy, it’s a great way to support a worthy cause and earn some yummies for your effort.

Interest Meetings 

Over the course of the semester, you’ll probably see plenty of random emails popping into your inbox, inviting you to everything from honors societies to the Quidditch team (yes, it’s a thing). Before you send them straight to spam, consider that many student organizations offer free snacks at their interest meetings. Everything from pizza and soft drinks to cookies and fruit snacks are often available at these meetings, so consider dropping by to pick up a brochure and some nibbles. And you never know—you might end up discovering a cause or a hobby that you’re passionate about!

The Wesley Foundation

If you enjoy participating in religious activities, check out the Wesley Foundation’s program of free meals for students. Located just off campus, they offer a weekly Wednesday Lunch and occasional dinners sponsored by the United Methodist Church, all home-cooked and free to MTSU students. Many other religiously-affiliated student organizations offer free meals as well, particularly at their on-campus events,  so check out your place of worship to learn about their meal programs.

Student Food Pantry

If it’s looking like your grocery budget won’t stretch to the end of the month, stop by the student food pantry. Located in room 210 of the OneStop building, the pantry collects donations of boxed meals, canned vegetables, and dried pasta to distribute to students in danger of going hungry. Be aware, this option is for students in serious need rather than those just looking for a quick bite, so be conscientious about your use of the food pantry. And if you have some canned or dried goods on hand that you don’t need, stop by to donate!