Commentary: Services nearly free, why not use them?

Spinnaker

Last week after my Friday class, I walked across campus to the UNF Arena. After swiping my ID at the counter, I walked into yoga class, grabbed a mat and joined the other students posed in a downward facing dog.

What’s wrong with this picture? No, it’s not that the pose is named after a household pet. To most people outside UNF’s campus, it would become quite clear during this entire process that I didn’t pull my credit card out once.

Universities, though notoriously famous for emptying pockets and purses, offer a range of services just for students that cost little to nothing to enjoy. They’re able to do this by charging students — all 16,000 of them — a variety of fees.

If you drove a couple streets down from UNF to Mindful Motion Yoga, it would cost $85 a month to enjoy the same downward dog stretch. With those differences in price, I thought the yoga class I attended would be so full that someone would accidentally kick someone else in the head. That wasn’t the case.

There were only about 30 people in the class, which is strange to me, considering so many people helped pay for it. Most students are interested in yoga too but just haven’t taken the initiative to attend.

Take the initiative. In the years you’re a student, opportunities will be thrown at you left and right to not only enhance your mind and résumé but the rest of your life as well. And most of these opportunities will be free, including counseling, tutoring, résumé and job-hunting help, a gym, pool and skate park membership.

And most of these services advertise a simple, ignored message: “Free for UNF students with ID.”

Unlike any other time in your life, you will not be asked for your credit card to experience something new. And if there’s not an office dedicated to helping you achieve your wants, there’s probably a club or other organization willing to help.

If you want to learn to surf, join the surf club. If your interest is so specific a club isn’t there, become the president.

And if an activity does cost students money, it’s normally offered at an extreme discount. Examples include kayaking trips, student insurance, medical services and certifications in scuba diving. These discounts range from $10 to thousands of dollars, and in these times, even $10 can make or break a budget.

E-mail Rebecca McKinnon at [email protected]