How to Eat Your Way Through College Without Ever Opening Your Wallet

May 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM ET

If you’re a college student, the only thing better than good food is free food.

Universities host a vast array of events, from talks to conferences to luncheons, and college kids living on a shoestring figured out years ago that these are prime opportunities to scrounge for food. Now, thanks to some new social media upstarts, it’s easier than ever to scout your next free meal on campus.

David Hepworth and Chase Roberts created the Lunch Box app last year to let students posts alerts about the location of free food, whether it’s a barbecue on the arts quad or scrambled tofu with the vegan club. The app covers a dozen schools so far, including University of California at Berkley, Harvard and Princeton. It has been downloaded more than 5,000 times.

In an effort to actually make some money, Roberts says she and Hepworth are trying to morph their Lunch Box into a networking and recruiting app. “When companies are looking to get face time with students for hiring, recruiting or whatever else, then they can throw a free food event and come to us and we can advertise it for them,” says Roberts.

The University of Michigan Free Food Alert Facebook page even offers advice on how to fake your way to the food.

The University of Oklahoma’s unofficial Twitter campaign for free food has hundreds of tweets and nearly 2,500 followers.

The student behind the Twitter account, who wishes to remain anonymous, says it has caused a flooding of people at some events. He says the food tweets are good for both sides: Students get a free dinner, and event organizers get a bigger audience.

Harvard has one of the biggest Facebook groups in search of free food, with 1,144 likes. The catch: Students may actually have to sit through a lecture to get it.

More opportunities to eat cost-free:

The University of Illinois has its own Facebook page dedicated to the cause, as does the University of Southern California.