The bell at the door chimed as students entered Free Bucks during lunchtime to get some water or eat spaghetti.
Nataly Martinez gets her morning coffee and spends her downtime in between classes at the free food and coffee place inside the Christian Campus Center, or TRI-C, with her friends. The TRI-C is located by University Center.
“I usually see other friends from around campus here,” the social work senior said.
For Martinez and her friend Violeta Caro, it is not just a place to eat, but also to catch-up with each other and do their homework.
Martinez and Caro, a social work junior, have been friends for a year. They met in their social work classes and studied together. They have started to frequent Free Bucks, where free food is served during lunch time on Tuesdays and Thursdays and coffee Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is a part of the Christian Campus Center on campus.
Martinez and Caro brought their friend Jacquelyn Donaldson for the first time to chat in the kitchen.
Donaldson, a business management senior, said she usually had lunch in her apartment or sat by herself in the UC food court.
Donaldson said she liked to spend time with her friends, especially during lunchtime, because she didn’t want to eat alone.
The three friends said they were very different from each other in terms of their hobbies and interests.
“I like painting sceneries and watching Korean dramas,” Martinez said.
Caro said she was learning how to play the piano and hoped to be an expert some day.
Donaldson on the other hand said she keeps making plans for all of them to go to the gym and workout together.
“We try to workout — running once a week at the MAC,” Donaldson said.
Martinez said she prefers to sit at Free Bucks because of the seating arrangement. The furniture is arranged as if around a dinner table.
“Even if you don’t want to, you have to sit next to each other,” she said.
The laid-back, coffee-shop-style atmosphere makes people more social, she said.