It’s an inherent truth, repeatedly backed up by research: for your students to be successful, they need to be engaged beyond academics. Only full integration into campus life can ensure that they’ll remain engaged and successful—and that they don’t transfer or drop out.

To get there, you need to host campus events that matter to your students. This list can help you get started. Try these ten social event ideas for college students so they can engage, relax, and just have some fun.

1. Open Mic Night

It’s an old favorite among college campus event ideas, but that doesn’t diminish its relevance. Host regular open mic nights on campus that allow your students to show off their skills while others enjoy the display of those skills. This event is especially successful when repeated regularly. Over time, it will become a staple on campus that continues rising in popularity.

2. TEDx Talk

Hosting a TEDx event is easier than you might think. You just need to find a regular speaker and topic. Then follow the guidelines set by TED. Colleges have plenty of experts on campus. This is your chance to showcase them to both students and the community in an engaging way. Add the peripherals, like a dinner or after-talk party, and you have a formula set for success.

3. Movie Night

Another favorite among college campus event ideas is a movie night. It can help you involve cash-strapped college students without requiring them to go to the movies. Use your auditorium or rent a large outdoor screen, add some snacks, and maybe even connect a panel discussion among students about the movie topic. From The Super Mario Bros. Movie to Barbie, the possibilities are endless.

4. Bingo

As the old saying goes, only churches and colleges love bingo. But there’s something magical to students about sitting together and waiting for those numbers to be drawn, especially if the prizes (like college swag or bookstore gift cards) are relevant. So don’t underestimate it as you brainstorm social event ideas for college students.

5. Etiquette Dinner

Let’s get professional. Partner with your career center to host an etiquette dinner, where students can learn how to eat in professional settings. You can even invite alumni to add a networking component. Make the dinner free, and you’ll almost guarantee attendance thanks to the free and delicious food.

6. Alumni Networking Happy Hour

Let’s dig more specifically into networking-related college campus event ideas. It never hurts to help your upperclass students connect with alums. Host a happy hour on campus, limited to students aged 21 and older. There, alums can chat with future professionals in a relaxed and comfortable format.

7. Food Truck Festival

No matter what campus you go to, you’ll find students complaining about the dining hall food. This campus event idea is a great way to circumvent that by bringing local food trucks on campus for some alternatives. If you can showcase the locations of the food trucks for that date on your interactive map, then you can even make it easy for all students to find their favorite grub.

8. Cultural Events

This college campus event idea is particularly powerful when it happens in partnership with your international office or international student clubs. Allow them to showcase their culture to the rest of campus, with anything from food to fashion shows. Because of the direct student involvement, they’ll also become your ambassadors in promoting the event to the rest of your community.

9. Meditation Sessions

With mental health becoming an increasingly urgent topic on college campuses, some of your events should be designed to help your students manage their stress. One option is a regular meditation session led by an experienced instructor that helps students disconnect, relax, and find their inner piece. It’s especially relevant and beneficial around stressful times in the semester, like midterms or finals week.

10. E-Sports Tournament

Finally, consider using your student center to host an e-sports tournament. Games like Rocket League or Madden NFL Football have become increasingly popular in residence halls, so it’s only natural to extend the competition to the entire community. You might even consider hosting themed competitions, like a Madden tournament of the different residence halls competing against each other.

Promote Your Campus Events With Localist 

Ultimately, even the best college campus event ideas will only be as successful as your communication around them. With Localist, you can make sure your students know about your events and drive attendance. Ready to learn more about this integrated college calendar solution? Contact us today.