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26 Event Ideas to Engage College Students on Campus

College is a transformative time in a young adult's life, and campus activities play a pivotal role in shaping well-rounded individuals. From intellectual and cultural events to just-for-fun contests and community service initiatives, colleges and...

College is a transformative time in a young adult's life, and campus activities play a pivotal role in shaping well-rounded individuals. From intellectual and cultural events to just-for-fun contests and community service initiatives, colleges and universities should provide a wide range of activities that foster student engagement. These events should cater to a diverse range of students and promote personal growth, self-confidence, leadership skills, and social responsibility.

To help you start planning, we've rounded up 26 college event ideas that will get students involved and promote their academic, emotional, and social well-being. Remember to customize these ideas to suit your campus culture and unique needs.

Professional and Academic Event Ideas for College Students

1. Host a TEDx Event

TED talks are popular, and hosting a TEDx event is a great way to widen students' perspectives and connect them with professional resources. TED offers a complete guide to help you pull off a successful event. Gather students, faculty, staff, or professionals who have something important to say and provide them with the necessary A/V equipment.

2. Hold a Professional Headshot Event

Professional headshots are invaluable tools for students. Hire a professional photographer or tap into your school's art or film department for volunteers. Host a day of free headshot photography, and provide students with mirrors for touch-ups. Consider timing and ideal venues, such as the end or beginning of the year.

3. Organize a Job Skills Seminar

Help students brush up on their job skills by organizing a seminar on topics like job searching, applications, interviews, and navigating hiring paperwork. Bring in speakers, provide one-on-one coaching, or set up stations with information and resources.

4. Arrange a Recurring Networking Meetup

Networking meetups are great for helping students make personal and professional connections. Consider hosting them on a weekly or monthly basis, providing drinks and snacks. Bring in a staff facilitator, industry professionals, or alumni as providers.

5. Hold a Speed-Advice Event with Alumni or Professionals

Organize a speed-advice event where students can have short, timed conversations with alumni or professionals. Choose a theme for the conversations and provide accommodations for the event. Arrange the room for optimal flow to prevent confusion.

Social Event Ideas for College Students

6. Challenge Students to a Scavenger Hunt

Host a scavenger hunt at the beginning of the academic year to help students make friends and learn their way around campus. Consider confining the hunt to specific areas or taking students off-campus to familiarize them with the local community.

7. Host a Local Walking or Bus Tour

Take students on a walking or bus tour of local historical landmarks, haunted buildings, parks, or public art. Alternatively, provide campus tours and explore its stories and lore. Partner with historians or book professional tours.

8. Hold an Outdoor Movie Night

Organize an outdoor movie night during warm seasons. Make it a fundraiser by selling popcorn or other snacks. Consider showing themed films or classics like "E.T." or "The Wizard of Oz."

9. Run a Voter Registration Drive

Promote civic engagement by organizing a nonpartisan voter registration drive. Provide information about registration requirements, polling locations, and important election dates. Consider making it a festive "rock the vote" event.

10. Plan a School Spirit Week

Promote school spirit and community engagement with a week of activities such as outdoor movie nights, ice cream socials, volunteer drives, performances, dance competitions, and featured speakers.

Festivals and Cultural Event Ideas for College Students

11. Put on a Film Festival

Host a film festival to explore different cultures and perspectives through movies. Choose a theme based on holidays, heritage months, or in partnership with campus organizations or departments.

12. Hold a Food Festival on Campus

Invite students to feast on local delicacies by hosting a food festival. Partner with food trucks or local restaurants. Make it a recreational event or turn it into a fundraising opportunity.

13. Partner with Campus Clubs for Cultural Events

Reach out to student cultural organizations to put on celebrations, festivals, or other events throughout the year. Encourage booths showcasing food, crafts, and information from different cultures.

14. Host a Poetry Slam, Talent Show, or Amateur Comedy Night

Provide entertainment opportunities for students to showcase their talents. Organize poetry slams, talent shows, or amateur comedy nights. Partner with relevant departments or advertise for participants.

Events to Reduce Stress and Improve Mental Health

15. Outdoor Yoga or Meditation Sessions

Invite students to outdoor group yoga or meditation sessions. Provide a foundation for mindfulness practices to help students reduce stress and improve mental health.

16. Pet-a-Puppy or Cuddle-a-Kitten Booth

Partner with local animal rescue or therapy organizations to bring in pets for students to interact with. Promote stress reduction and well-being while supporting a good cause.

17. Hold Weekly Life Skills Seminars (with Snacks!)

Host recurring seminars to help students learn life skills such as managing finances, stress, or cooking healthy food on a budget. Bring in community experts or recruit staff and faculty to facilitate sessions.

18. Craft a Hobby Night

Organize hobby-focused events like paint nights, origami workshops, knitting sessions, or pottery painting nights. Partner with relevant departments or student volunteers to provide supplies.

19. Bring in a Farmer's Market

Set up a campus farmer's market to provide fresh produce to students. Partner with local farmers or farmer's market organizations. Offer information and resources for healthy eating.

20. Offer Free Mini-Massages

Provide students with quick, relaxing massages to reduce stress. Bring in licensed masseuses or set up massage chairs for students to take a break between classes.

Charity Events to Give Back to the Community

21. Blood Drive

Partner with a local blood donation organization to host a blood drive. Encourage students to sign up and provide incentives such as stickers or free t-shirts for donors.

22. Hold a Fashion Show or Art Show to Raise Money for Charity

Organize art exhibitions or fashion shows to raise money for local charities. Partner with art or fashion design departments and student organizations. Include silent auctions or raffles.

23. Shovel Snow for the Elderly

Help elderly residents by organizing snow-shoveling volunteers. Partner with local aging organizations to identify those in need. Provide transportation and snow shovels.

24. Tutor High School Students

Recruit student volunteers to tutor high school students in various subjects. Partner with local school districts and hold sessions on-campus or off-campus. Pair struggling students with tutors in the same major.

Tournaments and Competitions to Get Students Buzzing

25. Host a Trivia Competition

Organize a trivia competition to showcase students' knowledge of various topics. Make it a weekly contest, and consider live-streaming the event to generate interest. Provide snacks and involve campus celebrities as emcees.

26. Sports or Lawn Game Tournament

Host a tournament featuring lawn games like bowling or croquet. Consider indoor alternatives like ping pong, bowling, or dance tournaments during inclement weather. Provide snacks and prizes for participants.

Promoting Your Campus Events

When planning your campus events, consider using Paperless Post for easy event promotion. Personalize invitations and add Blocks with additional details. Send invitations via text, email, or shareable link, and track RSVPs to ensure adequate supplies. Browse their selection of university event invitations and fun Flyers to get started.

Remember to customize these event ideas to suit your campus culture and student population. Engaging students through these activities will help promote their personal growth, academic success, and overall well-being.