Mizzou’s best-kept secrets

Updated Feb. 10, 2012
By Laura Davison

A few days ago, I asked my Facebook friends what programs, resources, events and things on Mizzou’s campus they thought were underrated or not well-known. Their responses, not surprisingly for college students, are things that are free or cheap, things that make life more convenient or are fun and/or sugar-filled. Here’s a graphic representation of their suggestions.
ven diagram
I was surprised by many of the responses I received. I’m a senior, but not once had I tried a cookie from the Bookmark Café or downloaded any of the nightlife apps. This past week, I’ve done some research on the suggestions I was unfamiliar with and here are my thoughts on how to take advantage of some of the benefits Mizzou offers.

Convenient, Cheap/Free, Tasty&Fun

  • Late night shopping + free stuff. While it's technically for the freshmen, who says upperclassmen can't go?

    Late night shopping + free stuff. While it’s technically for the freshmen, who says upperclassmen can’t go?

    Target Night: During move-in week, Mizzou hosts a late-night event at Target with games and promotions. It’s geared for freshmen buying things for their dorm rooms, but it is open to any student. They give out goody bags with lots of sample products I’ve continued to use.

Cheap/Free and Convenient

  • The Student Success Center offers free essay editing, tutoring and resume reviews. Plan ahead and you can take advantage of these services.


  • Every semester you can have four psychology and four psychiatrist appointments per semester at no additional cost (you’ve already paid for them in your student health fee) at the Student Health Center.
  • Every Wednesday, I read the MU Info emails sent out. These emails are full of opportunities to participate in research studies, many of which pay cash or offer gift certificates as incentives for participating. Twenty dollars for participating in a focus group? I think yes.
  • I’ve recently started checking out a lot of books from the library. I’m in a book club and a few classes that use certain books for parts of the semester. Undergrads can have books for up to a month and grad students for four months (basically the whole semester). It’s free and you can request them online and pick them up from the library of your choosing on campus.

    Mizzou Journalism Library

    Before you shell out a lot of money for an expensive textbook, check to see if you can check it out for free at the library.

  • Financial planning dept in HES will do your taxes and give you free financial planning advice for free up until April 15. Here are the times and locations.

    • First MU Campus Location
      162 Stanley Hall
      Tues., Wed., Thurs. 4:30-8:00 p.m.
      Saturday 10:00-1:30 p.m.
      Second MU Campus Location
      Room 005, Cornell Hall
      Monday: 4:30-8:00 p.m.


  • There’s WiFi on the columns?! Yup. What will we all do when we leave college and can’t expect to get free WiFi everywhere?
  • Skip the bookstore lines next time you need to buy a blue book for a test. Instead, get them at a supply vending machine. There’s one in the Futures Lab in RJI and I other places on campus. (They tell me there is a campus outside of the J-School). They cost roughly ten cents more, but that’s worth skipping out on the walk and the line.
  • If you’re heading home late at night, MUPD can assign a security officer to walk with individuals who feel unsafe.
  • The florists at Tiger Garden make a variety of plant gift items. They frequently announce their deals in the weekly MU Info email.

    The florists at Tiger Garden make a variety of plant gift items. They frequently announce their deals in the weekly MU Info email.

    Tiger Garden, the florist located in the agriculture building is close, delivers, and “basically the same price as everything else around here,” according to my roommate.

  • You can check out bikes for free at the Student Center. Here’s the step-by-step.
  • You can also check out umbrellas at the Women’s Center and the library. Plus, take a look this list of office supplies, calculators, cameras and other stuff you can get from the library.
  • One of my professors recommends the pharmacy in the student center. She praises its personable staff and that they take student charge or employee payroll deduction.
  • Digiprint is Mizzou’s printing service in Ellis Library. They will mass print lecture notes or parts of books and bind them for you. They accept student charge as well as cash.

Convenient & Fun

Tasty & Fun

Yum, yum. Tiger Stripe ice cream from Buck's located in Eckles Hall on the corner of Rollins and College.

Yum, yum. Tiger Stripe ice cream from Buck’s located in Eckles Hall on the corner of Rollins and College.

  • Buck’s ice cream is delicious and made on campus. Everybody tries to the Tiger Stripe ice cream at Tiger Walk, but there are several more flavors and you can frequently find coupons in the coupon books passed out at the beginning of each semester.
  • Apparently the Bookmark Café in Ellis Library serves some awesome cookies. I had no idea, so last week I checked it out. I can honestly say I haven’t had a better, tastier, melt-in-your-mouth-ier cookie anywhere else on campus.
  • Language partners: Both the Women’s Center and the Intensive English Program offer language partner programs. They partner native English speakers with non-native speakers, so they can improve their conversation skills and learn more about life at Mizzou. In the process, you learn more about their culture and country. I’ve been a language partner for a Chineses student and a Korean student. It was a very eye-opening experience to talk to them about American life from their perspective and learn about their cultural norms.
  • Want to carve something into the walls of the Shack in the Student Center? The University wants you to mark up the place so badly they will check out tools to you to carve your name.
  • Apps like Nightlife and Find Me Specials show you what food and drink specials you can find in downtown Columbia on any given night.

Tasty & Cheap

  • The Catalyst Café in the Life Sciences Building serves chai tees for $1.50, making it one of the cheapest hot beverages on campus.

Good study spots

Many suggestions for good study spots came in. Here are some of the lesser-known ones.

Courtesy of Flickr user Adam Procter

Courtesy of Flickr user Adam Procter

  • The Reflector. It’s a library/computer lab in Townsend Hall. It’s not open terribly late, but always has open computers and space to study.
  • The Med School Library is a less crowded alternative to Ellis Library.
  • Room 1419 in the engineering building has dual monitor computers and is usually open if you arrive before 9.
  • The study room in the arch of Memorial Union.
  • Office hours. Just go to them. If I had a nickel for every time somebody has told me a story about getting their grade raised by going to office hours, I could pay for my education. This suggestion was submitted by a professor, so you know it’s legit.

13 thoughts on “Mizzou’s best-kept secrets

  1. One thing you forgot… The meat lab in Eckles hall! Cheap delicious meats you can take home and cook yourself. I’m not sure if they still do it but they used to do smoked turkeys around the holidays as well! Cheap and good for you!

  2. Sorry to burst your bubble., but the library generally does not have textbooks for undergraduate courses. We may have some of the required readings, but we cannot buy textbooks for 20,000 undergraduates, especially since new editions are published every year. On the other hand, we provide support for research and classwork. Visit us at the reference desk, use chat, email or texting to contact us. We are here to help!

    • Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for your comment. I apologize my original post wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean textbooks, but rather books for classes. Most of my classes don’t require textbooks, but rather novels that we use for a short period of time. I was getting too fast and loose with the term “textbooks.” I’ve changed the post to refer to books rather than textbooks.

      Thanks for all the work you and everyone at the library does. I’m continually impressed with the level of assistance I receive from you and your colleagues.

  3. Librarian here…don’t get your hopes up for “free textbooks,” please. We generally do NOT purchase textbooks. We have received the occasional donated textbook, but these are usually many years out of date. You may have some luck with books listed on your syllabus that are not marketed specifically as textbooks, e.g., novels or scholarly monographs written for specialists in a field., but remember that the library only buys one copy of any given book, so you should not rely too much on this. We do have an ongoing book sale for books donated to the library but not accepted- book sale books are shelved in the Digiprint copy center on the north side of Ellis. And we do have a free service that allows you to borrow books held by other libraries in the state (ask for MOBIUS). Outside of the realm of textbooks, the Libraries do have lots of other free services, though – Ellis just now got cell phone chargers installed, near the rear exit to the main elevators in Ellis, and we’ve got scanners that you can use free of charge, just to name a couple of other examples.

    • Rachel,
      Thanks so much for your clarification about the library books. I’ve reflected the post above to reflect that the library is great for, books being used for part of the semester or for a research project. Especially in upper-level classes, traditional textbooks are used less. Most of the books myself and my classmates read are novels or non-fiction books on various issues.

      You’re correct, free textbooks…not so much. But physical books to augment our coursework is an underutilized resource.

      Also, great to hear about the phone chargers! That’s something a LOT of students will be grateful to know!

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