By Michael Abramson
Let’s face it: college isn’t cheap. Many of us are spending thousands of dollars out of pocket and taking on even more in loans in order to be here. Most students would say that it’s worth the cost—and I agree! The important thing is to make sure that every dollar counts. College is a unique experience that is just as much about forming connections with students and professors as it is about education. As of Fall 2022, SUNY Purchase College has an enrollment of over three-thousand students, all of whom pay the MSAF and have equal access to a wealth of resources available on campus that so few know about.
Never heard of the MSAF? The acronym stands for: Mandatory Student Activities Fee. It’s something that every single student pays as part of their tuition regardless of part-time, full-time, commuter, or resident status. This money is allocated for student clubs and events like Culture Shock (a spring festival with famous performers and fair rides), STOOD parties put on by clubs with live music, and more.
But what about the resources we pay for that aren’t advertised?
For example, the New Media school has a laser cutter and 3D printer (CMFT 0082) right next door to a fully functional woodshop (CMFT 0080) in the basement of CMFT. I used the laser cutter once to create wooden tokens for a story I wrote in a creative writing course on building alternate worlds. s long as you bring your own materials during lab hours, someone will teach you how to use the machines. Hours for open hours to use the laser cutter and 3D printer are not currently posted, but make sure to keep an eye out! There is also a screening room (CMFT 0065) in the CMFT building with built in seating and projectors that can be rented out by students for viewing parties, or even just hooking up a gaming console and playing with friends. Any student can book the screening rooms—or any other available room—through RoomBook on the Purchase Webpage.
On top of access to many different types of equipment in CMFT, the campus has a whole department in the basement of the Social Sciences building dedicated to loaning technical equipment out to students for classes, group projects, or personal endeavors. Campus Technology Services, or CTS, has tons of equipment such as: microphones, speakers, lighting equipment, laptops, tablets, headphones, and more. On average, rentals last about one to two weeks, but can be extended for the full semester upon request. It won’t always be approved, but it never hurts to ask!
Purchase also offers access to free yoga classes at the Wellness Center in Fort Awesome. With classes taught every day, different instructors offer different courses. Ranging from Pilates with Paul to Yin Yoga with Jane, the Wellness Center offers students a safe place to relax and escape from the stress of assignments. Purchase also offers free lectures from visiting artists, writers, concerts, and more!
There are also places where students can get things! Everyone loves things and The Freestore gives students a place to get just that. The Freestore is an on-campus thrift store located on the second level of D-Hall that is completely free to students. All goods are donated from the student-body and the surrounding community. On a good day, you can find big brand bags or cooking appliances, and on the bad ones, you can find some silly props for a short film you’re shooting in the tunnels beneath the plaza. The FreeNew is a similar concept. All around the campus are sheds containing things left behind by students who either moved or graduated: old fans, storage cubes, even ice-cube trays, etc. They open at the end of each semester so students can get rid of things they don’t need; one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Finally, The Food Pantry, which is located on the bottom floor of the library, where students can go and pick out food that has been donated. Canned goods and non-perishables are at the tips of our fingers and any student is welcome to take some as long as they have a valid student ID. Everything is completely anonymous and confidential so everyone can have equal access to food on campus. These are only some of the resources available that I’ve managed to discover. Reach out to professors, send emails to directors, take advantage of the resources you are paying for and make your education work for you!