College is the most fun you’ll ever have with your clothes on and off — if you’re lucky. As someone who spent more time than I care to admit as an undergraduate with no money at the College of Charleston, here are a few suggestions on how to spend your penniless days with a smile on your face.
1. Join the Cougar Activity Board. Where fun comes free (that’s their motto!). If making new friends without the social crutch of adult beverages is your game plan this fall, then this is right up your alley. This is the group responsible for bringing free films, musical performances, and plenty of other activities — Casino Night, anyone? — to the College of Charleston campus.
2. Getting some rays in Marion Square. This is an activity that I highly encourage for anyone with hormones, especially if you look great in a bikini or a pair of cargo shorts. Guys, bring a Frisbee, a soccer ball, and a six-pack, of abs that is; if you’re not prepared to take off your shirt, stay home. Gals, you don’t have to do much. Just strip down to your bathing suit, lay on your tummy, maybe undo that top strap.
3. Karaoke and trivia nights. If you’re growing weary of binge drinking to blow off steam — your loss — these two activities might be right for you. Many local bars cater to these events weekly, and it’s totally free if you’re not drinking or eating. As an added bonus, you can show off your ability to belt out “Bohemian Rhapsody” and rattle off the names of each James Bond film, alphabetically arranged by the name of each Bond girl.
4. Use your Greenbax. If you shop at the Pig and you’re a member of the Greenbax Rewards Club, all sorts of deals are there for you — tickets to the RiverDogs, free admission to the S.C. Aquarium, discounted fishing at the Folly Beach Pier, and more. Of course, Greenbax don’t grow on trees. You’ll have to head to Piggly Wiggly and buy groceries.
5. Go to the beach. Take a picnic, your surfboard, or that best-seller you’ve been itching to read and head to the beach. The ocean’s free, although the parking may not be. (On Folly, you’ll have to pay. On IOP and Sullivan’s, you won’t.)
6. French Quarter Art Walk. This is free and open to the public, and usually wine and hors d’oeuvres are involved. Stroll the cobblestone streets and gaslit alleys of downtown Charleston and enjoy a variety of styles of traditional and contemporary art. You might as well soak up some culture, since you’re going to be here for at least four years.
7. James Island County Park. Technically, this isn’t completely free, but if you can scrounge up one whole dollar (or one Greenbax) per person, you can make a day of it. There’s hiking and biking, a challenge course and a climbing wall, and arguably the area’s best dog park.
8. Scavenger hunts. Get a group of friends together and come up with a silly list of items to find. When done on foot, it’s totally free. Take a Polaroid with a local street personality or with a family from Ohio — God knows they’re easy to find.
9. Sex. Unless you’re in Holland or Las Vegas, this is a totally free activity. Go get some! Preferably not behind a dumpster on East Bay.
10. Get a job. While working is not always an enjoyable activity, it does provide you with an outlet to meet new people and make some extra money while you’re at it. It also helps expand your dating pool. Whoever said don’t dip your pen in the company ink was a moron.