9 Irresistible Event Ideas for Colleges and Universities
1. Outdoor Festivals
Kick off or wrap up the semester with a campus-wide outdoor festival. Get students excited by promoting unique headlining activities, like a hot air balloon ride, a bull ride simulator, an inflatable obstacle course, a zipline, or anything else they don’t get to experience every day! Plus, if you offer free food and good music, students will find themselves drawn to the festivities and inviting their friends, too. Have students register online beforehand with their student ID and shirt size for a (free) exclusive festival t-shirt to drive even more traffic to your event and give you a better idea of how many students will be attending. With unique activities and free fun galore, your festival is bound to be the buzz around campus!
2. Stuff-A-Plush Events
Not only does “Stuff-A-Plush” offer a unique activity for your students to do with their friends, it also gives them a cute keepsake to bring back to their dorm. At this event, give out unstuffed plushies for students to fill with stuffing and seal up themselves for an added personal touch. Pick a theme, like animals or food, and offer different plushies based around that. You can even encourage them to register ahead of time to guarantee they’ll get the plushie they want. Host events like this throughout the year, especially around the holidays, so that students can bring one home as a gift to a family member!
3. Guest Speakers
Invite guest speakers to share their personal stories, inspirational talks, and worldly advice to students on hot topics that are relevant to them today. Promote these events as your college’s local TED Talk or late night talk show hosted by a notable faculty member. These events can be for specific major departments or for the entire university depending on the community members, speakers, and alumni you draw in. Plus, if you have the budget, consider hosting celebrities or social media influencers, as they’re sure to draw in a big crowd. And at the end, remember to add a Q&A session so students can engage in discussions with your speakers as well.
4. On-Campus Concerts
Give students the chance to jam out to their favorite bands and artists within walking distance from their dorms! Host a range of performances from local talent to celebrity artists (depending on your budget) as either special one-time events or as part of a semester-long concert series. When students register on your concert’s event page, be sure to include a survey to discover who they hope comes to campus next, then use that information to book performers you know will bring in excited fans!
5. Dorm Decor Crafts
Craft workshops are a perfect opportunity for students to bond with new friends and add fun decorations to their dorm! Who doesn't want to personalize their room to match their unique personality and aesthetic? For example, they could build their own potted plants or mini terrariums with fake or real plants. They can make string art for their wall with just wooden boards, some nails, a hammer, and colored string. Or they can let their imaginations run wild as they hand paint wooden pencil holders for their desk, express themselves on a blank canvas, or put together a vision board of their personal goals. The possibilities are endless!
6. Farmers’ Market
Let students browse vendors from the local community for fresh fruit and vegetables, bouquets of flowers, and other locally grown items. Set up a station where they can even arrange their own beautiful flower bouquet! Like a traditional farmers’ market, consider including vendors who sell handcrafted jewelry, art, or clothing as well. Pick a scenic, open spot on campus so it’s accessible to everyone (no public transportation needed!) all the time. As a unique way to enjoy a beautiful day on campus and bring some delicious fresh food back to their dorm, this market is one event that students won’t want to miss!
7. Cooking Classes
Hosting a series of cooking classes is a great way for young adults to make new friends while developing practical skills they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives. Invite guest instructors from around campus or from the local restaurant community to host a class and share various cooking tips and tricks. These class levels can range from beginner to advanced, and inspire students to make a wide variety of dishes throughout the semester. You can even personalize the instructions for Thanksgiving side dishes, Christmas cookies, and more around the holidays. Soon, they’ll be making delicious food for all their friends and family!
8. Ping Pong Ball Drop
The concept is simple: pick the tallest building on your campus and drop buckets of ping pong balls from it. Pretty straightforward, right? But wait, there’s more! There’s two ways to spice up this game. First, set up a target on the ground close to where you’ll be dropping the balls from. Then have students write their names on a select number of ping pong balls for the chance to win cash prizes, gift cards, or other bonuses if they’re one of the closest to that target. Second, put specially marked ping pong balls into the mix beforehand. As you drop all the balls from the building, students can stand under the shower of ping pong balls (with or without an umbrella) and collect the specially marked ones to win a prize! This experience will also make for some great content for your school’s social media pages!
9. Mental Wellness Events
Hosting events throughout exam week to help students refresh and recharge can be the perfect boost they need to finish that paper or ace that test. Looking for some ideas to help you get started? Host yoga or meditation classes to give them strategies to better decompress. Set up a late night breakfast bar with pancakes, coffee, cereal, and more to fuel them up for their next all-nighter. As a sweet way to curb that nagging test anxiety, have a “Donut Stress” event with free donuts. And, as the cherry on top, bring in some service dogs in training for students to play with and remind them of their furry friends at home. They’ll appreciate the excuse for a study break!
Now, take your favorite ideas and run with them! And consider using an intuitive ticketing platform to help you register students and sell out tickets to all your events. With Ticketleap, you’ll get free access to all the features you need to keep in touch with students who sign up for your events, manage attendance, and host incredible experiences that will bring your campus to life!