UBC Cards: The best way to say “put it on the plastic

Well well well. Here we are. In 3 weeks, most of us will be back on the UBC campus getting ready for our first week of school. And when I say most, I truly mean most. Some people will still be at home, spending every last minute with their families. Some people will be on vacation still and rushing back to Vancouver. And some people won’t even be thinking about school, they’ll just be partying until the moment school starts. Now, whatever you’re doing, I’m sure money is on your mind. School is expensive, books are unnecessary, blah blah blah. But to all you worriers out there – you’re saved! Because here comes a fantastically educational blog post about all the free things you can do with your UBC Card.

From the moment you get on campus, your UBC Card will become one of the most important cards in your wallet. First of all, it has that awful picture of you (you know, the one where you thought you couldn’t smile so it’s like a mugshot but a particularly bad one at that) which you use for ID purposes. However, the UBC Card is a lot more helpful than that. To make this easy for you, I’ll put this in list form so you can see all the items on the list in a nice orderly fashion.

Free things to do with a UBC Card

1. Go to the Nitobe Gardens. Have you ever heard of the Nitobe Gardens? If not, then you’re missing out. The Nitobe Garden is a gorgeous Japanese garden hidden away by Place Vanier and the Asian Library. It is absolutely free as long as you show the attendant your UBC card, and its beautiful scenery, especially in the fog or in the autumn, will relax you instantly.

2. Visit the Museum of Anthropology. This fascinating museum is a great way to learn about different cultures, and it’s free with your UBC card! You can check out the totem poles around the building, or visit the other exhibits inside. Either way, it’s an awesome experience that’s entirely FREE!

3. Check out the Belkin Art Gallery. I haven’t been here yet, but checking out art for free? Hell yeah.

4. Ride the bus! Okay, so technically it isn’t free, but you get your incredibly useful and easily-losable U-Pass with your UBC Card. You put your card into the machine once every month and VOILA, your U-Pass comes sliding out the bottom of the machine. I guess it isn’t really free, but it feels like it is when you pay everything at the beginning of the year.

5. Hang out at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. Have you ever wanted to see a huge blue whale skeleton? If so, you’re in luck! The Beaty Biodiversity Museum has one, and a lot of other cool science-y things. It’s also located right off Main Mall, so it’s easy to get to and fun to check out!

6. Drop-in sports at the SRC. If you’re a more athletic than museum-going person, then you can check out the drop-in sports at the SRC. Why? Because they’re free!

7. Check out library books. Yeah, books! When you’re at any of the UBC libraries, you can use your UBC Card to check out books.These include research books, casual reading books, and scores and CD’s. But make sure you return the books on time, otherwise they know it was you who checked them out and they will track you down. I promise.

8. Swim like a fish! You can go swimming for free at the UBC Aquatic Centre. They have lane swimming and everything, which is always a fantastic workout. I’ve also heard that there is a small gym downstairs that you can use for working out if you don’t feel like paying a Birdcoop membership.

9. Party hard. When you’re so busy checking things out of the library with your UBC Card and learning things in museums for free with your UBC Card, it’s good to unwind. So you can also use your UBC Card to get into parties on campus! Frat parties, Arts Week parties, you name it. Many of these events are exclusive to UBC students, so you can’t buy tickets without your ID. Or, if it isn’t ticketed, then you can’t get in without showing a frat brother your ID (or a picture of it on your phone. I’ve done that, and it’s easier than carrying ID around and possibly losing it.)

10. See the doctor. With a UBC Card, you can book appointments to see the doctor at UBC Student Health Services. When you pay your mandatory fees, you also pay a little for a certain type of student health insurance. Therefore, going to the doctor is paid for by that insurance! And free for you!

11. Break into buildings. You can’t actually break into buildings with your UBC Card, but if you’re authorized, you can get into certain buildings with it after hours. For example, I can get into the Architecture buildings when the doors are locked to access the practice rooms. Free building entry! Yay!

12. Book study rooms. I’ve only heard this from friends, but apparently you can book study rooms and tables for free with your UBC Card. Hurrah.

So that’s really all I can think of right now, and this was supposed to be a short blog post so I screwed that up already. The point is, you can do all kinds of fun things with your UBC Card! For free! There’s a lot of discounts you can get with it too, like a discounted yearly pass as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and 5% discounts on all UBC Food Services things.

But for real, take advantage of your card. It’s a fantastic thing to have, and you can do so many free things with it! So next time you’re at UBC and someone asks how you’re paying (assuming you’re at MOA or Nitobe or something) you can say “put it on the plastic” and flash them your UBC card. And just like that, you’re in.

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