Beyond Pat Case and ACSU: Free Meals on the TU Campus

If you’re a commuter, an upperclassman without a meal plan or anyone simply tired of the Caf, we have good news for you: you can find a free lunch on campus every day of the school week, and all you have to do is show up. Not only do free meals on campus help you fill your stomach between classes, but they’re also a great opportunity to meet new folks here at TU. That’s a two-for-one deal.

The week kicks off with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) lunch every Monday. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., you’ll be served classics like Polynesian chicken, hamburgers or burritos by their team of friendly volunteers. Don’t forget the sides served every week: salad, peanut butter sandwiches, canned peaches and an impossible-to-resist scoop of midday ice cream. Once you sit down to eat, look for the staff and students of the BCM who are eager to chat and hear about your day. You’ll often find thought-provoking questions scattered across the tables to help you strike up a conversation with the kid across from you whose academic and social interests might be the opposite of your own. Before you know it, you’ll have an acquaintance from a major you previously didn’t even know existed.

If you miss your grandma’s warm and comforting meals, the 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tuesday lunch at the St. Philip Neri University Parish (in the Newman Center) offers you the next best thing. You’ll find a different group of retired Churchgoers hosting each week, serving meals such as chicken and wild rice casserole, lasagna and even bratwurst. Don’t skip on the salad, and make sure to snag a grandma-certified homemade cookie (or three, they won’t judge). At the tables, you’ll encounter the outgoing staff and several students — and if you’re lucky, you might even meet the chatty catechist Gerald, hailing all the way from London, England. Cafeteria too crowded? Walk across the hall to the game room where you can try your skills at pool or go for a couple rounds of ping pong… after you’ve finished your plate of chicken tetrazzini, of course.

On Wednesdays, you can find lunches from two different ministries. For any vegetarians, the Little Blue house just north of Chapman serves a dietary-restriction-friendly meal. You won’t be the only one getting a free meal: you might see (and pet!) a few feline members of the TU community enjoying a not-so-vegetarian lunch just outside the building. Sharp Chapel, located in the center of campus, also hosts a free Wednesday meal. At 12:30 p.m., just after the Worship on Wednesday service, Sharp hosts a Sodexo-catered buffet in the atrium, but don’t fret, it’s not the kind of Sodexo meal you’ll find at Pat Case. This meal includes entrees such as ham and mac ‘n’ cheese, brisket and pasta. Seating inside is limited, but the outdoor tables on Sharp plaza offer space for the overflow lunch-eaters.

Every Thursday at noon, you can eat a home-cooked meal hosted by International Student Ministries (ISM), housed out of the Wesley Student Ministry. This meal is typically the most unique one you’ll eat all week: instead of casseroles and dinner rolls, you’ll be served traditional recipes from places around the world such as Pakistan, Colombia and India. You’ll be warmly welcomed by the ministry team, and you’ll have no trouble finding a seat at the table. This lunch is also a fantastic way to meet international students on campus and learn more about the world beyond Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Finally, to close out the week, Wesley provides a free meal between noon and 1 p.m. every Friday. The smiling staff will serve you a catered dish, such as enchiladas or brisket (or a veggie wrap for any vegetarians), but once you’ve been handed your plate, keep walking just a few feet more and you’ll run into a table heaping with bread, cookies and Panera bagels. If it’s been a long week and you’re not in a super chatty mood, don’t worry. On the tables, you’ll find classic games, and if you’re sitting next to someone new, you don’t have to fall back on standard small talk. Connect over “Connect 4” instead. Stay long enough at the lunch, and you’ll hear an interesting speech by a community member. On your way out, don’t forget to take one more Chips Ahoy cookie. Hey, you made it all the way to Friday.

By the end of the school week, you’ll have saved yourself anywhere between 50 and 100 dining dollars, and you’ll have met dozens of new students on the TU campus.

Megan Posey (senior), a student worker at Wesley, describes the purpose of free ministry lunches. “We recognize that sometimes it can be hard to find and plan meals, especially during the day, during a busy class schedule. [We want to] provide individuals with easy access to meals so we know they’re taking care of themselves,” she explains. “And it’s a great way to meet all kinds of people.”

So this week, why don’t you do yourself, your meal plan and your social life a favor, and stop by one (or all) of the free ministry sponsored meals on campus. After all, they really want to serve you.

Post Author: Celeste McAtee