This all sounds very weird to me. Most universities have economics and finance departments, so it would be surprising if no one anywhere in the university has access to the Option Metrics databases. This is the primary data provider used in academic research on option pricing, hence all issues related with reproducing, updating and extending prior work hinges on access to this data. I'd be extremely surprised if absolutely no one, not even PhD students or professors had access, although I could see something like the university restricting access to certain programs or only to graduate students, etc. So, my first advice is to ask around. Send emails to professors of economics or finance who work on option pricing. They most certainly have access and the near totality of them would be very happy to hear about students being interested in what they do.
Now, you might also want to take a look at webscraping. There is a whole Python tutorial available here. You get explanations and free code that helps you import and clean option data from Yahoo!Finance. Eventually, your database would be large enough to become useful.
A last option is to look for recent articles published in top financial journals. Some of those journals will make it mandatory to release everything necessary to reproduce all results without exception. For example, Christian Dorion from HEC Montreal just published an amazing paper on option pricing in the Review of Financial Studies (with Bégin and Gauthier). His website is here. Notice that he gives us all of his codes. If you click on that link, you land in a Dropbox file. One file is data_management and, in there, you can eventually find the option data he used in a .mat (MATLAB) format. If you want to use it, but do not have MATLAB, R and Python both have packages that you can use to read those files. Alternatively, you can install a trial version of MATLAB and then save what you need in the format of your choice.
The only real downside here is that you have to live with the data cleaning those researchers performed. You'd have to dig in the folders to check if they changed something to the original WRSD Option Metric call, but it's a good start.