Students discuss off-campus discounts

Sophomore psychology major Bianca Welch shows her receipt from Tramonto Bistro with the Pepperdine student discount (Photo by Carmen Baldridge).

Student discounts cut costs.

Living in Malibu comes with added expenses — a reality many students grapple with. To help off-set prices, the university and organizations like the Student Government Association work with area businesses to offer discounts to students. These include things like 10% off at local restaurants and reduced movie theater or theme park tickets. Pepperdine negotiates these discounts to enhance the college experience. 

Junior biology major Priscilla Hastings said she loves to go off campus and eat at different restaurants, but her Sunlife purchases add up fast. 

“It’s breaking my pockets,” Hastings said. 

There are many opportunities to save a dollar or two, whether in the local area or nationwide. However, many students said they didn’t know about the discounts.

Community discounts available

The OneStop section of the Pepperdine website lists a variety of discounts in the Malibu area. 

Evan Gold, a OneStop student advisor, said he recommends students use discounts at restaurants. Discounts in the community include Malibu Seafood, Alfred coffee and Irv’s Burgers, all of which offer 10% off. Most of the discounts available to students off campus are 10% off of purchase. 

“We do get lucky, and we are close with the Malibu community so we get those awesome discounts,” Gold said. 

Even though 10% is better than no discount at all, many students said that they would like a higher percentage.

“Twenty percent would be great,” Hastings said. 

Sophomore psychology major Bianca Welch said she uses the Pepperdine discount at Alfred’s. 

“Those are a couple dollars that I get to keep in my pocket,” Welch said. 

Along with consistent discounts, there are also occasional deals in town. 

SGA President Micheal Sugimoto said SGA reaches out to businesses in Malibu to see if they would like to collaborate with Pepperdine. 

Last year, SGA worked with Lyft to provide discounted rides. Sugimoto said as many as 700 students used the feature. 

“There’s definitely a lot of engagement when discounts and partnerships arise,” Sugimoto said. “Engagement has gone up, and that’s such an encouraging thing.”

This year, SGA partnered with Sunlife to produce a special smoothie called “The Wave.” The limited edition blue and orange drink was available in April and August this year. While the smoothie itself was not advertised as a discount, the cost of the smoothie was at the low end for Sunlife of around $12.

SGA x Sunlife collaborated on a smoothie in 2023 (Photo by: Carmen Baldridge).

Most students agreed that they would like a permanent discount at Sunlife. Others recommended Chipotle and Ralphs.

Sugiomoto said SGA takes discount requests from students. He encouraged students to come to Senate meetings and to keep an eye out for the SGA monthly newsletter, which will advertise future discounts. In addition, Sugiomoto said SGA works on their social media posts and video reels to market updates and upcoming discounts. 

Discounts around the globe

Pepperdine partners with Tickets at work to provide discounts. 

The fully online discount site is a place to find discounts anywhere in the United States and beyond. OneStop is in charge of the service. 

To use a discount, students log on through a Wavenet account and use the password: Pepperdine. Discounts are available for different hotels, attractions, movies, shopping and theater shows, Gold said. 

Entertainment such as AMC Theatres can cost up to $20 for a regular ticket. However, by using Tickets at work, students can get an AMC ticket for $10.75. 

Tickets at work also has discounts for international attractions, such as the London Eye and Dubai Aquarium, most of them 5% off. 

“Whether you are going home for break, or if you are trying to be a tourist, you can use that,” Gold said.

Gold said the website also updates seasonally. Attractions such as Universal Studios can be booked for the Halloween Horror Nights season. 

Sophomore business major Lawson Trimmel said he would like to do many things before he graduates. 

“I would like to go to an Angel’s game,” Trimmel said. 

Even though there are no professional sports discounts on Tickets at work, some cities have tickets for non-professional sports teams. 

Most students don’t know about discounts

While many students use discounts to their advantage, many students did not even know they exist. 

“I did not know Pepperdine has student discounts,” said Grace Mouw, a sophomore integrated marketing communication major.  

Even as the president of SGA, Sugimoto said he learns about available tools too.

“I don’t even know sometimes, of all the resources I’m finding out everyday,” Sugimoto said. 

Some students who did know about discounts only knew one to two restaurants that offered them.

“The only one I know about is Malibu Seafood,” Trimmel said. 

Students often miss out on resources that Pepperdine offers.

With busy college schedules, Sugimoto said many students miss out on opportunities by not checking their inbox, or reading all the way through emails. Important clubs, student groups and Pepperdine administrators all send information about resources and free events on and off campus through emails and during New Student Orientation. Sugimoto said he thinks students often miss out because of the length of the emails. 

“The emails Pepperdine typically sends are lengthy,” Sugimoto said. 

Sugimoto said much of the information is given out within the first month of school.

The beginning of the school year can seem overwhelming for all years, let alone for first-years. They are introduced to resources, workshops and tools to use for the rest of their college years. With all the information, Sugimoto said that it can be a lot to take in. 

During those workshops at New Student Orientation, only some first-year seminars mention discounts available. Gold said they sometimes speak to students in those classes about the OneStop discounts, but that they can only speak to a few. 

“Our priority is helping you guys with your academics,” Gold said. 

Gold said the OneStop team does not market the discounts, but the OneStop website can assist students with finding local and world-wide discounts. Gold said anyone is welcome to come in and ask about discounts as well. 

“It’s the best thing,” Gold said.

Budgeting as a college student 

Discounts can help offset expenses in college. While the prices do not stop students from having fun, some students said they try to be realistic with their funds. 

Mouw sets boundaries when it comes to spending. She said she tries to spend less than $300 monthly, but also factors in overspending, typically by spending less the following month. 

Mouw said she enjoys activities that require money but also loves to do affordable activities, such as hiking and going to the beach. 

“I feel grateful to have a car,” Mouw said.

Trimmel said he tries not to be an excessive spender as he goes out into the town of Malibu.

Community importance

Sugimoto said he believes community is not only found on campus, but off campus as well. 

“I think when students are together, whether it’s in a classroom or a sports setting,” Sugimoto said. “That is community.”

Many students said they loved to go to restaurants, and like always, go to the beach. Hastings said she enjoys exploring the city around her, and said she feels grateful that she has the ability to.

“I think that it is extremely important to get out and see your community and your area,” Hastings said. 

With the help of discounts, students can save some money and also be a part of Malibu. 

“It is when we step outside that we grow and build stronger selves,” Sugimoto said.

Carmen Baldridge completed the reporting for this story in Jour 241 under the supervision of Dr. Christina Littlefield and Dr. Theresa de los Santos. Dr. Littlefield supervised the web version of the story.