Party Ideas

20 Great Event Ideas for College Students

By Megan Price

Organizing events for college students is a great opportunity to promote fun campus experiences and increase student engagement. Planning those events can be a tricky job if you’re new to the Student Activities Committee. We have some great college event ideas to help you make campus the place to be and keep students excited to be a part of your college community.

Welcome Week and Family Weekend Events

The first week of classes is an exciting time! It’s a new chapter in life and there is plenty to celebrate with all the new students during Welcome Week. Equally important is putting together fun activities for parents and families to visit during Family Weekend. Get everyone hyped for a great year with these upbeat event ideas for college students! 

💿 Live DJ

Hire a DJ to play a mix of crowd-pleasers to add a fun soundtrack to the first week’s activities. Even if they’re just playing on the quad while everyone mingles, it adds to the excitement of the first week!

💄 Drag queen

Shake things up with an emcee who knows how to work a crowd! Book a drag queen to introduce events, lead games, make announcements, and more — with flair. They may even be able to wear a costume that incorporates your campus colors to spread school spirit.

🎸 Party band

Help your students cut loose after a long first day of classes with a party band! These groups can keep students happy with upbeat, well-known tunes. Feel free to share your requests with the band if your incoming students had a class song or two with nostalgic value. 

🌮 Food truck

Who doesn’t love food? Give students a break from the dining hall and book a local food truck (or trucks) to serve tasty tacos, funnel cakes, hot dogs, and more on the quad! Everyone will be happy to take a break to enjoy lunch or in-between-tour snacks together. 

🤹‍♂️ Stiltwalker

Book a stiltwalker to dress in campus colors and greet new students and their families as they arrive for Welcome Week or Family Weekend. Use them to pass out maps, itineraries, or just provide a fun photo op for everyone! 

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Interactive College Student Activities

Encourage students to get active and have some fun with social events and guest speakers. You can get the whole college campus involved with these interactive event ideas.

🎨 Paint and sip event

Organize a paint and sip party for college students to try their hand at getting crafty. Blank canvasses are metaphorical for a new school year, so it’s a great fit for a campus event. And the sip doesn’t have to be wine — sparkling grape juice is just as fun! 

🕺 Dance classes

Get your student body moving with a fun campus dance class or two! Hire a dance instructor to teach students some simple steps. From Zumba to line dancing, there’s a class for all students and interests. 

✏️ Caricaturist

Whether it’s a campus networking event or a social gathering for your college students, a caricaturist is agreat idea for entertainment. And, it gives everyone a silly souvenir to remember their best years! Most artists can draw 10 portraits per hour, so book multiple artists if needed. 

🧘 Yoga classes

Student life can be stressful, so this college event idea is a way for them to reclaim their zen! Book a yoga instructor to lead peaceful classes once a week. These instructors may be able to host virtual classes, so online students can be involved, too. 

🎤 Motivational or mental health workshops

Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health issues with your students. Hire a motivational speaker for an inspirational TED talk or book a mental health expert to provide guidance during college student events. 

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Ways to Celebrate Cultures on Campus

One of the best parts about college is getting to know new people from all walks of life and from lots of different cultures! Every current student should feel celebrated on your college campus, so put up culturally-themed decorations, share historical facts on your social media, and set up university events to promote inclusivity and diversity all year long.

🖤 Black History Month

The month of February is dedicated to Black history. Honor your African-American students with campus events that include spoken word artists and African entertainment.  

💚 National Arab Heritage Month

In April, plan on introducing your students to this beautiful culture with belly dancers, sitar players, henna artists, or other Middle Eastern entertainment

💛 Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Honor your Asian and Pacific Islander students in May before the spring semester ends. Book hula dancers, Polynesian performers, Asian entertainment to liven up our campus. 

❤️ National Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15 to October 15, celebrate the Hispanic culture in your campus events with colorful Spanish entertainment like Ballet Folklorico, mariachi groups, or Latin bands.

🤍 Native American Heritage Month

This celebration falls in November each year, so plan on closing out the fall semester by booking speakers, singers, or other Native American entertainment to invite students to celebrate this rich culture. 

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Book Japanese Koto player Saeko Kujiraoka on GigSalad!

Live Entertainment Ideas for College Students

There’s nothing like live entertainment for campus events to make college life more exciting for your students! A fun and engaging stage show is great for all kinds of events, whether you’re hosting a gathering at the student center or fundraising for campus clubs. 

😂 Comedian

Who doesn’t love to laugh? Book a comedian who can tease your campus fraternities and sororities, relate to the woes of undergrad classes, or just poke fun at today’s pop culture! You can make it a night of comedy by booking a few comedians for shorter sets, too. 

🎩 Comedy magician

Magic is cool enough on its own, but these pros will have the crowd laughing along with their mind-blowing illusions. Comedy magicians are great for all ages and groups, making them the perfect entertainment for campus events. These corporate entertainers know how to keep things professional, so consider them for fundraising or awards events! 

😵‍💫 Hypnotist

Get your college students out of their seats with an interactive performer like a hypnotist! Plan on lots of gasps and laughs as the hypnotist leads the audience through silly antics while “under the spell” of hypnosis. Crowd participation is a must so this may be a better choice for later in the semester once everyone has made new friends. 

🎵 Cover band

Live music is a great college event idea, so book a cover band to perform a campus concert. You can also book cover bands who specialize in a specific era for throwback-themed events. Think 70s era entertainment for groovy fun, 80s era entertainment for totally tubular themes, or 90s era entertainment for Teen Beat bashes. 

🤘 Tribute Band

Celebrate the musical greats of our time and book an unforgettable concert for your students. From The Beatles to Queen to Lady Gaga, tribute bands strive to make the audience feel like they’re actually seeing the original artist in their prime!

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Book college comedians like Adam Grabowski on GigSalad!

💻 Go virtual! If you have a mix of in-person, online, and hybrid students, consider hosting the occasional virtual event. Most of the ideas mentioned in this article can be easily transitioned into an online event. Just set up a time, choose a platform, book your entertainment, promote it across social media, and let your students join in from the comfort of their homes or dorm rooms.

Coming up with great ideas for college events is easy with over 500 categories available on GigSalad! Get your planning committee together and make this year full of fun for your campus. 

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