By KYLEE EHMANN
There are only so many Friday nights you can stay in to watch Netflix before getting restless. But with book prices, tuition and student fees draining funds from your wallet, it is difficult to find cheap and new ways to spend your free time.
But it’s not impossible. Students can take advantage of free on-campus events and venues with their university student ID, known as a UCard.
Kimberlee Briggs, a junior in sociology and theater, said she thinks students under-utilize free services at the U. She encourages freshmen to capitalize on the opportunities.
“It’s going to be more of a memory than staying in and watching Netflix is going to be,” she said. “If it sucks — no loss. The risk and reward ratio is completely in your favor.”
Briggs said she enjoys going to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, located on lower campus, and Red Butte Garden, the botanical garden in Research Park — both of which are free for students with a valid UCard. Students can also explore a world of dinosaurs and science at the Natural History Museum of Utah, located by Red Butte, which is free as well.
UCards also count as an ArtsPass, meaning students can access most Film Department screenings, School of Music performances and ballet and modern dance recitals. Free tickets are available for musicals and plays in the U’s Babcock Theater, Studio 115 and the Pioneer Theater Company.
“Plays around the community can cost around $10-15,” Briggs said. “I saw ‘Avenue Q’ for free when they did it at Babcock, and it’s now one of my favorite plays.”
If plays and musicals aren’t for you, the U also hosts two free concerts: Redfest in the fall and the Grand Kerfuffle in the spring. The Union Programming Council also hosts ‘Crimson Nights,’ which is a free party for students with dancing and giveaways held a few times a semester.
ASUU, the student government on campus, and other organizations, such as the Hinckley Institute of Politics, host guest speakers, panels and discussions open for students.
“One of the most memorable free events I went to was a dialogue on police wearing body [cameras],” Briggs said. “Don’t just focus on the fun free parties — go to events that are about wanting to make a change. Plays and shows and museums are great but be sure to expand past yourself as well.”
You can catch free movies at the Post Theater by the dorms, with films ranging from “My Neighbor Totoro” to “Silence of the Lambs.” Unlike the other events, you do not need to show your UCard to enter, and you can get candy and soda on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Each student pays fees that go towards funding these events and memberships. To find out about these free events, Briggs said first-year students should pay attention to posters and signs around them.
“Talk to people,” she said. “’Like’ pages [for student organizations] on Facebook. Be in the loop — then you decide what sounds fun.”