Free Food and Where to Find it

At drop-in advising, I receive many questions about work-life balance, general education requirements, and other degree-related topics; however, there is still one question that I have yet to hear: “Where can I find free food?”

Is it even possible to find food without having to empty your wallet for overpriced items on-campus? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Free food is everywhere, and this blog has the answers on where to look.

There are several places on the UC Davis campus that are great locations for finding either some afternoon munchies or even a potential meal. Here are all the facts you need to know about how to access food without having to empty your wallet.

Aggie Compass has many good resources for those facing food insecurity, especially those affected by the recent CA wildfires. The following places are the resources I am familiar with.

The Pantry

Ranging from snacks and non-perishables to toiletries, The Pantry has it all! Located in the basement of Freeborn Hall, room 21, this resource is available to all UCD students and utilizes a simple 3-point system. Each item is worth 1-3 points and each day, students can choose items until total item worth adds up to a maximum of three. For example, if a package of rice equals 3 points, a can of chicken soup equals 2, and a Cliff bar equals 1, students can either choose to take 1 bag of rice, 3 Cliff bars, or soup and a Cliff bar. In the past, I have received cake mix and even girl scout cookies from the Pantry.

Students also can get free, organic student-grown produce on Mondays and Thursdays in addition to their 3 points thanks to the Fresh Focus Program.

Fruit and Veggie Up

Located at Aggie Compass on the first floor of the Memorial Union, Fruit and Veggie Up is a great program that gives UCD students access to free fruits and vegetables donated from the UCD Student Farm, Tandem Farm, the Davis Co-op, and Nugget Markets. From past experience, I highly suggest that students start lining up half an hour before the event in order to obtain the best items, and also beat the crowd.

(More food resources can be found on Aggie Compass’ website)

Give Me a Pizza That

Pizza can be considered one the most popular college staples, and a great way for student organizations to attract potential members is through pizza. Often times, the first general meetings given by club organizations or promotional events have free pizza, so keep an eye out for listserv emails that mention phrases like “First General Meeting” and “pizza or snacks will be provided.”

Hidden Savings at the Grocery Market

For all of the students living off-campus nearby Safeway or Savemart, I have news for you! Though it is not commonly advertised, Safeway and Savemart occasionally have free items available. That’s right, free.

How does one access these mystical, legitimate freebies that seem too good to be true? Sign up for your local grocery store’s free rewards programs. Most grocery stores have rewards programs that reward loyal customers for buying items. Rewards program members will often receive notification emails giving them access to coupon items or even occasional free items. These free items are generally not advertised but can be found either through email or the rewards website. After adding respective freebie item coupons through online or the app, these items can be redeemed at the store through entering the account’s associated phone number. The rewards programs for Safeway and Savemart are Safeway Rewards and Save Smart Rewards, respectively. From Savemart and Safeway this past year, I have received free cookies, almond milk, chicken tenders, and other items.

As a side note, Savemart and Safeway both have very similar prices on grocery items. Per week, one grocery store might have better deals than the other. A tip for Savemart: when shopping, always look out for yellow tags that say “manager’s sale” (the golden flag of savings) on items that are nearing their “best sold by date.” These items are often times marked down to ridiculously, low prices.

In college, when free handouts are hard to come by, who can resist practical and edible freebies?

I have relinquished all of my free food-finding secrets, but I am sure there are more. If you know of any other places where one can find edible freebies, comment below! Sharing is caring 🙂

Thanks for reading and happy snacking!

Vanessa Som
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd Year, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major, Class of 2020


My Favorite Professors at UC Davis

UC Davis has an outstanding faculty. Over the last 9 quarters I have had the pleasure of attending the lectures of many great professors. Here I will list some of my favorite lecturers and explain what made their classes exceptional.

Tom Gordon

SAS 30 – Mushrooms, Mold, Society

Tom Gordon was the most engaging, fun professor I have taken at UC Davis. While it’s easy to make lecture fun when the subject is fungi, Tom Gordon elevates his lectures to another level with nonstop fascinating historical examples, peculiar anecdotes, and impeccable comedic timing. I got lucky registering for SAS 30 as a sophomore, as most seats are filled by seniors with earlier pass times looking to take this fairly straightforward, albeit renowned GE.

Despite being predominantly seniors and no participation points, SAS 30 lectures always had surprisingly good attendance – a testament to Dr. Gordon’s ability to engage students. I can say with confidence that this is the only class I have taken with zero stress and no reluctance to go to lecture. Although seemingly not offered in Fall 2018, SAS 30 is usually offered every Fall quarter. On Halloween the quarter I took this course, Dr. Gordon, in full Darth Vader costume, engaged in a lightsaber duel with this TA. The entertainment value of Dr. Gordon’s lectures is better than most TV. Regardless of your initial interest in fungi, you will leave this class with a lasting appreciation for mushrooms and mold.

Siobhan Brady

BIS 183– Functional genomics

Dr. Brady had excellent speaking presence and organization of course materials that student’s can depend upon. Her friendliness and openness to questions resulted in more class participation than I have ever seen for a lecture that size. The papers assigned for reading were interesting, lectures were organized well with citations so I could easily find the papers which she pulled figures and examples from. Jeopardy day was fun, and practice exam material was helpful and relevant. This was simply an excellently instructed course and I highly recommend Dr. Brady to anyone who has the opportunity to a class under her.

Oliver Fiehn

BIS 103 – Bioenergetics and Metabolism

Oliver Fiehn accomplishes the impossible by teaching biochemistry with bubbly enthusiasm. He explains metabolism intuitively by personifying metabolites and enzymes when discussing their pathways. Fiehn has a good sense of humor, was very approachable, and never failed to answer a question. The flow of information was logical and the organization of the course worked really well for me. One thing I appreciated about Dr. Fiehn is that he would release all previous years’ tests as study material. This eliminated the imbalance of study material spread between students because of test-bank resources that only some students might have access to.

Brian Todd

WFC 134 – Herpetology

I am biased here because I am a huge herpetology nerd and was very excited to take this course, but Brian Todd was an excellent professor. Dr. Todd has a great speaking presence and is very clear in his organization and expectations of students. Monotonous parts of lecture describing family after family of frog were broken up with relevant clips from Davis Attenborough. For someone who registered for WFC 134 with high expectations, I was not let down by the quality of Dr. Todd’s lectures.

Phil Ward

BIS 2C – Introduction to Biology: Biodiversity and the Tree of Life

It has been two entire years now since I took BIS 2C and my memory has somewhat faded but I remember Dr. Ward as one of the first professors whose lectures I absolutely loved. What stuck with me most was hearing about his harrowing experience of leaches falling from trees in Australia. The enthusiasm he had for evolution and biodiversity matched my own enthusiasm – which made me excited to attend his lectures.


I have had other great professors at UC Davis that I could have included on this list,  and I am sure there are countless others whose courses I have not taken. These five professors are ones I remember especially, and I highly recommend taking any course under these professors.

Justin Waskowiak
BASC Peer Advisor
4th Year, Genetics and Genomics major

Want to Change into a CBS Major?

Welcome back to the new school year Aggies! Hope fall quarter is treating you well so far. Being a peer advisor, I help students work towards their goals by answering major-related questions, such as quarterly schedules and major requirements. Since the beginning of the quarter, I often get questions from drop-in students about changing majors. This year, things have changed up a bit in College of Biological Sciences. Before, each major has its own requirements, but now, the major changing requirements for all College of Biological Sciences majors are the same. The requirements are now more simple and straightforward.

UC Davis College of Biological Sciences (CBS) currently has nine majors, in alphabetical order: (1) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Cell Biology, (4) Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity, (5) Genetics and Genomics, (6) Marine and Coastal Sciences, (7) Microbiology, (8) Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, and (9) Plant Biology. In addition, first-Year students can be admitted as Undeclared Life-Sciences, and they will have to officially declare a major before completing 90 UC units.

Here are the steps if you want to change into a CBS major from a different college, or from another CBS major:
1. Meet with your current major advisor and your intended major advisor to discuss your plans. This is very important because you need to complete the intended major within 225 UC units, and thus you may want to make academic plans and take classes for the intended major.
2. Be in good academic standing and meet minimum progress requirements.
3. Have at least a 2.00 UC Cumulative GPA, which means that you can only change your major after completing your first quarter at UC Davis.
4. Have at least a 2.00 Overall Major GPA in the intended major (and a 2.00 Depth-Subject Matter GPA in upper-division major coursework if applicable).

After you complete the steps above, you can submit the Change of Major Form through OASIS. The form will be reviewed by advisors from you current and intended major.

change of major

Schedule an appointment with a BASC major advisor if you have any questions related to the majors and/or the major changing procedure!

Linya Hu
BASC Peer Advisor
4th year, Genetics & Genomics Major

Sweet Deals of Davis

You know what they say about summer, hair gets lighter; skin gets darker; water gets warmer; drinks get colder; music gets louder; nights get longer; and life gets sweeter… literally. Summer is the time to indulge in sunshine and sweets, but, since we’re all still broke college students trying to treat ourselves for low costs, here are some sweet deals you can find in Davis.

Davis Creamery

113 E Street Davis, CA 95616

The Davis Creamery is a family owned and operated gourmet sweets shop. They make unique ice cream flavors and host a “Bracketology” event twice a year during which new ice cream concepts are created and go head-to-head in a customer voted competition. Some fun flavors from the bracketology include the Trifecta (Oreo, Butterfinger and Reese Peanut Butter), black tea and shortbread, and guava passion fruit.

Their daily specials include:

Monday – $2.00 Scoop Night (5pm-10pm)

Tuesday – $2.25 Cupcakes (all day)

Wednesday –  $3.00 Cowpies (all day)

Thursday- $7.00 Quarts (all day)

Friday – $5.00 Milk Shake Happy Hour (4pm-7pm)

Image result for the davis creamery

Sweet and Shavery **

210  Street Davis, CA 95616

Sweet and Shavery is known for its combination of Italian ice with a creamy custard to create a refreshing, yet satisfying treat. They also have other popular items, such as mangonadas and made-to-order crepes.

Their weekly special is:

Wednesday: $3.25 for two small parfaits (3-5 PM)

Image result for sweet and shavery

The Good Scoop **

130 G Street, Suite C Davis, CA. 95616

The Good Scoop is definitely one of the hidden gems of Davis. They sell unique, tasteful small batches of ice cream which are made only 1.5 gallons at a time. Some creative flavors include salted caramel with cajeta, ginger, and rosewater. My personal favorite, however, is the jasmine green tea!

Their weekly specials include:

Monday: $2 non-dairy scoop (all day)

Tuesday: $2 scoops (all day)  

Image result for the good scoop davis

Gong Cha **

1411 W Covell Blvd.Suite #110Davis CA 95616

Gong Cha is one of the many boba spots of Davis, specializing in tea, coffee, and juice. They are located next the the Safeway of “north” Davis, making it super convenient to drop in. They also have four seater tables which are good for studying!

Their happy hours are:

Monday – Thursday before 7 PM: Free size upgrade

Image result for gong cha davis

Baskin Robbins

236 E St, Davis, CA 95616

Baskin Robbins is an oldie, but a goodie. The Baskin-Robbins “31®” was created to represent a different ice cream flavor for each day of the month, but since 1945, they’ve created more than 1,300 unique and delicious ice cream flavors. If you sign up for their birthday club, you can get a free scoop on your birthday!

Their monthly special includes:

31st of the month – $1.31 scoops

Image result for baskin robbins davis address

Brick Toast Cafe

201 Sage St., Ste B Davis, California 95616

Brick Toast Cafe boasts high quality ingredients, including Gunther’s ice cream, fresh-made whipped cream, and local wildflower honey. They are most known for their brick honey toast, but also have boba teas and Temple coffee.

Their special includes:

Free boba all the time!

Image result for brick toast cafe davis

** = Stamp card/rewards program available!

Don’t forget to stay active and eat healthy foods to balance out this sugar rush!!

Christina Duong
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major w/Spanish minor

Undergraduate Research Conference – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Undergraduate Research Conference?
The Undergraduate Research Conference is an annual conference where UC Davis students present their individual research projects under the supervision of faculty sponsors or law/medical professionals. Students in all academic fields, including STEM majors, social science majors, and art majors who conducted independent research are welcome to show their work. The goal of the conference is to encourage undergraduate students to pursue higher degrees after undergraduate and to conduct research in their discipline.

When and where is the Undergraduate Research Conference?
The Undergraduate Research Conference usually happens towards the end of April every school year. This year, the 29th Undergraduate Research Conference of 2018, will be on Friday April 27th from 3-7 PM (ARC Pavilion) and Saturday April 28th from 1-4:30 PM (Wellman Hall). The poster session and art exhibition are at the ARC Pavilion, and the oral presentations are at Wellman Hall.

How can I show my work at the Undergraduate Research Conference?
If you are interested in participating as a presenter, make sure to talk to your faculty research supervisor early and submit your abstract in February. There are three types of presentation.
1. Poster Presentation: a 60 minute poster session will be assigned to each presenter. The posters will be shown at the ARC Pavilion, while presenters stand next to them to give short talks and answer questions. UC Davis Undergraduate Research Center provides free poster printing before the conference.
2. Oral Session: each presenter will have a 15 minute oral session to introduce the research, including their research interest, hypothesis, methods, and results. PowerPoint slides are often used.
3. Art exhibition: The art exhibits are in the same area as the poster presentations. The exhibition allows students to showcase their research results in the form of studio art, design and multimedia.

Do I have to present in the conference by myself? Can I do it with my research partner?
Most students did their own independent projects and thus presented by themselves. If you happen to have a research partner collaborating on the same project, you will be able to present with them. Both students will have to sign up for the conference and submit the same abstract. Usually the group is not larger than 2 or 3, since the main focus of the conference is independent research.

Why should I go to the Undergraduate Research Conference? I am not doing research now.
First of all, the Undergraduate Research Conference is free for everyone! Second, it is a great chance to see what other students are doing and ask questions. If you have never done research before but interested, it is a good chance to ask how the students doing independent research find faculty supervisors, decide on research topics, etc. Also, since this is the largest research conference for undergraduates in UC Davis, you will be able to see more than 500 groups presenting on campus all in two days.

How can I get involved in research?
UC Davis is a research university, and according to a 2016 report, more than 40% of undergraduate students have participated in some kind of research. Speaking from my own experience, I will say that it is never too early, yet never too late (of course, not on the last day of your last quarter) to get involve in research as an undergraduate student in UC Davis. For first year students, many professors are willing to train younger students because they can stay in the research lab for longer. For upperclassmen, you already have background knowledge in the field and maybe know some laboratory techniques, so make use of that knowledge. You will be able to ask more in depth questions and get the grasp more quickly in research labs.
I advise that students interested in research can start by looking at profiles of UC Davis professors, and email the professors who do research topics that you are interested in. Express your interest towards the field, and ask if they have undergraduate researcher openings in their labs.
You can also looking for laboratory jobs and opportunities on Aggie Job Link, the Undergraduate Research Center (URC), and the Internship and Career Center (ICC). Sign up for the listserve of URC and ICC to receive weekly emails about new position openings. Read more about getting involved in research in “What Undergraduate Research Can Do For You“.

Wide photo of poster sessions on the floor of the ARC Pavilion showing many presenters, posters and participants with art exhibits in the backA picture of the Undergraduate Research Conference. (

Linya Hu
BASC Peer Advisor
3rd year, Genetics & Genomics Major

So you want to go Part Time?

You might have heard of part time status somewhere through the grapevine but have some questions to what exactly that means and if you qualify. This blog will answer FAQs about this and hopefully give you a clear idea of if part time status is right for you.

1. What does part time mean?
-Undergraduate students can be enrolled in a maximum of 10 units
-Graduate students can be enrolled in a maximum of 6 units
-Tuition will be cut in half
-Minimum progress requirement are waived for the quarter

2. Who qualifies?
-Employment (30 hours or more worked per week)
-Health Conditions
-Accommodation for disability
-Primary Care responsibilities
-Graduating Senior (Undergraduate level and one-quarter only)

A more detailed description of each is included here:

3. Why would you want to go part time?
Everyone has their own reasons but here are some common ones:
-Save money
-Free up time for other commitments
-Remain an enrolled student while taking a lighter load

4. How much are you exactly paying?
-Part time payment is a flat rate of half tuition(it is not per unit basis)
-Residents will pay half resident tuition while non-residents pay half non-resident tuition

5. What about financial aid?
-If you are receiving Financial Aid, you must be enrolled in a minimum of six units for Financial Aid to disburse. Contact the Financial Aid Office before declaring part time status to consider how it will affect your package.

Here is their contact information:

6. What if you are an international student?
-We recommend you consult with the SISS staff before making a decision because it could affect your visa.

You can contact them at the link below:

7. What do you need to do in order to declare part time status?
-You must submit a part time status petition online
(this is available between pass 1 and the 10th day of instruction)

And that’s it!

Anais Stepanian
BASC Peer Advisor
Fourth Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Major

Outdoor Study Spaces

As the weather slowly starts to warm up, it becomes nearly impossible for me to stay cooped up in inside of my room or the confines of a building. I can’t help but see the warm rays nestling on every surface and imagine the slight breeze across my skin. But when midterms are coming up, is there really any choice other than staying indoors to study? Yes, there is! Be productive and still enjoy the outdoors! Here are some places to study while treating yourself to some vitamin D.

Student Community Center: 2nd Floor Patio

Not known to many, this patio overlooks the path by the Robbins Hall. There are outlets available!

Nearby: Computer rooms on the second floor of the SCC; food at the first floor South CoHo Cafe

Peter J Shields Library: Courtyard

Already at the library? Head to the first floor, where you can access the courtyard. There are a variety of benches and tables which overlook the grassy area.

Nearby: Computer rooms on the first floor of the Library; food at the Memorial Union

Memorial Union: 2nd Floor Patio

The CoHo never ceases to be packed, but if you head upstairs, you can find multiple tables complete with umbrellas. Food conveniently located just downstairs!

Nearby: Computer Room on the second floor of the MU; food at the Coffee House

Arboretum: Terrace

Not  actually located within the Arboretum, but closer to downtown, the Terrace surrounds you in picturesque environment with  numerous tables to study at. Be warned that it is currently closed for the season

Nearby: Davis Commons; Dutch Bros

Activities and Recreations Center: Cafe

Get your caffeine fix at Peet’s, then head to the outdoors cafe area to get your studying in. Maybe hit the gym afterwards!

Nearby: ARC; Trader Joe’s

Sciences Lab Building

Just outside the Sciences Lab Building are a couple of tables, as well as a grassy area where you can kick back and lounge with your notes.

Nearby: Bio Brew; various food trucks (usually Shah’s Indian Food)


An oldie but a goodie. Try your luck reading in the hammocks or take a blanket to relax in the grass.

Nearby: Memorial Union; CoHo; Shields Library

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast and bring a jacket, just in case it gets a little chilly. Sunscreen is always a good idea, even if it doesn’t seem sunny! Happy studying!

Christina Duong
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major w/Spanish minor