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Beyond The Classroom: A Guide to Maximizing University Amenities

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

While college can occasionally feel like a series of just getting through classes, campuses have much to offer beyond the classrooms causing stress. There are countless academic, recreational, and wellness resources for students to maximize the value of their tuition, which is more pressing now than ever with rising costs. Moreover, by expanding their horizons on campus, students can create a comfortable space by gradually increasing connections to different resources, opportunities, centers, and even faculty.

Medical Centers & Health Services

Even if you don’t use your university’s health insurance, there is a chance they offer students certain products or services for cheaper than you would’ve paid. Additionally, free vaccinations and screenings may be held on campus, conveniently placed near your other daily priorities. 

UConn: The medical center at the University of Connecticut is Student Health and Wellness, located on Glenbrook Road by the Chemistry building. SHaW offers free screenings, vaccination appointments, and a discounted pharmacy to UConn students. The pharmacy carries medications for allergies, colds, coughs, fever, pain, digestive health, first-aid, smoking cessation, vitamins and supplements, and more for a fraction of their average prices. You need a UConn ID to view the online shop, but for reference emergency contraceptive ‘plan B’ is $15.00 dollars and VapoRub and 24-packs of flu caplets are $2.00 each. UConn students can check out the Sexual and Reproductive Health division of Student Health and Wellness for resources such as contraceptives or STD and pregnancy support, some being free to get mailed/picked up in a matter of days.

Study Spaces

While I can understand wanting to rush home after classes sometimes, I recommend looking around some academic buildings for vacant classrooms, meeting rooms or lounges. Most campuses host endless study spots if you get creative, and you may find your favorite outside the typical library or dorm lounges.

UConn: If you’re prioritizing a silent study space that will dispel you from using your phone or talking to friends but the library is crowded, the Wilbur Cross Building is the place to go. This historic building hosts no classes and is catered entirely to studying and reading, hosting a café and UConn’s most aesthetically pleasing reading room. If you’re looking to work in a more relaxed space with more windows than the library (because the natural light and views make a difference), I recommend the student lounges in the Pharmacy/Biology Building. On the theme of science buildings, the Biology/Physics Building and Gant Science Complex also offer quiet study lounges, and the brand-new Science 1 Building provides access to a café. 

Recreational Spaces

If your campus offers a gym membership in its tuition, it’s likely that gym is packed at all hours of the day. If you’re looking to use the exercise equipment but keep finding yourself dispelled by the crowds, check out “Gymtimidation: Here’s My Guide To Help You Navigate and Workout Comfortably at the UConn Rec Center” for some motivation. However, recreation centers aren’t limited to classic machines, oftentimes offering facilities like tracks and swimming pools, and activities like club and intramural sports.

UConn: UConn’s recreation center offers everything aforementioned, and less commonly an indoor rock climbing center, racquetball courts, and an adventure center for excursions. UConn’s recreation center also offers group fitness activities including yoga, Pilates, barre, dance fit, spin, and countless workout routines. If you prefer to get your exercise done outdoors, you can join group hiking and rock climbing trips, or even rent equipment like bikes, snow gear, and sports gear for a discounted price.

Green Spaces

While the time to enjoy good weather can be limited, especially in New England, many college campuses offer better green spaces than students’ hometowns might have had, so it can be rewarding to take advantage of them. 

UConn: The iconic green space at UConn is Horsebarn Hill, and for good reason, as it provides beautiful views over campus at any time of the day. Another popular spot for enjoying good weather is Mirror Lake, again deservingly, with the perfect mix of spots in the sun and shade. Aside from these, there are also lawn chairs and hammocks sprawled throughout the lawns by the Wilbur Cross Building and South residential buildings available year-round.

gilmore girls, rory reading
Warner Bros

Student Discount

Though the “student discount” is unfamiliar to few, it can be overwhelming dealing with the terms of each, so here are the ones I’ve found most useful in my undergraduate experience. 

  • Museums in various cities offer reduced or free admission to college students, with certain caveats depending on the location of the museum and where you study. The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers “pay what you can” admission to all NY, NJ, and CT students, and $17 admission to all other students with valid ID. The Isabella Gardner Stewart Museum is free for many students studying in Boston, and $13 for all other students. While these can be conditional, I recommend always checking museum websites prior to your visit to check what discounts may be available to you.
  • Spotify and Apple Music streaming apps both offer premium plans to college students for $5.99 per month for four years. Both services also come with limited access to TV streaming platforms; Spotify comes with Hulu and Apple music comes with Apple TV+.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud offers one year of discounted art services for $20.00 per month, but different schools and programs ease these conditions. UConn students are able to repurchase an Adobe Creative License for $55.00 per semester or $136.00 per year as long as they’re enrolled. 
  • Many newspapers offer free or discounted subscriptions to college students to enrich both educational and personal intellect. Both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times offer college students subscriptions of $1.00 per week, but the university login portals will reveal that many universities, including UConn, have removed these costs entirely.
  • Getting food delivered can be as expensive as the order, so if you do so even once a month I recommend getting the Doordash DashPass for $4.99 per month. By eliminating delivery fees, this can be an important investment for those without full kitchens, who don’t always love cooking, or who find themselves ordering pizza after nights out.

Overall, the college experience is not just about surviving classes; it’s about thriving in an environment with opportunities created for you. Regardless of your path, every student can take advantage of the wellness services, discounts, and recreational spaces offered by their university.

Neha Jammula graduated from UConn with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and statistics, progressing to a Masters of Science degree in social data analytics at Brown University. Applying her educational interests, Neha wrote articles for Her Campus that utilize research to detail and provide explanations for different social events and media conversations. Aside from Her Campus, she also researched and helped write reports for UConn's Student Life and Enrollment office in her time at UConn. Some of Neha's other interests covered in the archive below are art, poetry, beauty, and lifestyle, as she highlights their influences in the social world and popular culture. Neha's writing for Her Campus allowed her to explore social trends and phenomena before moving forward with a career in social research and data analytics.