College events are a great way to begin your journey as an event planner. If you’re just a student, it’s a great way to get hands-on experience.
This guide will be perfect for you if you’re a student. In fact, even for graduates trying to build a career in the event industry.
A lot of colleges would be interested in your insights as an event planner or chief advisor.
In this article, we will briefly cover the types, ideas, themes, and tips for college events. You’ll be surprised to see how vast this field is.
A. Types of College Events
A college is a transformative space for students. It marks a big transition in their lives. Students get introduced to a new and exciting life.
With this new life come lots of new events. Here are some events a student will typically see in their years spent in college:
- Orientation events take place at the very start of their college life. The aim of this event is to introduce students to their lives, responsibilities, and resources in college. It also offers insights into the faculties, courses, and extra-curricular activities available to them
- Social events like mixers, dances, freshers parties, and other informal events also exist. These facilitate students to interact better in their initial days in college
- Academic workshops and seminars happen throughout their college life. These can be organized by faculty members, societies, or administrators. The goal here is to offer an opportunity to upskill, debate, or explore opportunities
- Guest lectures also take place on current affairs. This often requires inviting guest speakers
- Sports events within and between different colleges also exist
- It is a yearly practice to have cultural festivals to celebrate with performances, food, and stalls. They often represent different themes or cultures
- Student-run clubs or societies also organize events representing their niche. For example, the Psychology Society will organize events related to mental health. Likewise, art societies will organize art fests and activities
- Charity and community service events also exist. Examples could be volunteering drives and fundraising for social causes
- College events can also be specific to the traditions of a particular institute. For example, some colleges celebrate Founder’s Day, graduation ceremonies, and homecoming each year
- Towards the event of college life, lots of career fairs and job placement events take place. This can include an assembly of different company representatives or even a CV-making workshop. The same practice takes place before vacations to help students secure internships
B. Fun activity ideas for college events
We won’t sugarcoat it for you. College students are a tough crowd. They come with varied maturity levels and interests. It’s not as easy as entertaining toddlers or the elderly.
But, there are ways to work around it. You can use the ideas below to offer something for each type of young adult in college.
- Generation Alpha or those born between 2010 to 2024 love their digital assets. So, don’t skip the photo booths or selfie points. Create fun photo opportunities with 360-degree cameras or Instagram cutouts. They love being quirky and posting about it
- Students with musical talent or confidence at least, would love karaoke at events
- Open mics are great for any kind of college event provided you do your background work. Release forms to know what their performances are for quality control and better management
- Gaming zones can really keep the nerds busy
- DIY may seem out of fashion. But, it still makes for an excellent activity to engage students. It’s even better if you make it free. Some ideas are tie-dye and mug-painting stations
- If your institute offers and large and safe space, a scavenger hunt is a good idea. Keep the clues and challenges interesting and not impossible
- You can pick up on current trends and organize trivia nights. It could be about the new politician in town or even a new TV series released
- Food will never go out of style. Always try to curate the best food experiences at college events. You can read the guide linked to learn how
- The students are fresh out of school. Talent shows really boost their confidence for their new life at college. Don’t skip this one
- Outdoor sports events like tug-of-war and relay races can also be incorporated into the event
- Comedy shows are really the preferred events for this generation. Invite comedians to your event and expect a great turnout of students
- Make the futuristic move by providing virtual reality (VR) experiences. Incorporate interactive VR games and simulations
- Slam poetry is also a trending event of popular choice amongst your target audience
- Outdoor movie screenings will also interest a lot of students. Brownie points if you include a bonfire in this event
- Makeup stations are too old-fashioned. Consider having henna or face-painting stations
- Host dance workshops if dance performances have become too exclusive. People can learn new moves from experienced instructors. It’s really interactive
- Fortunately, this crowd may be stuff but they also love good old-fashioned live performances. Just be sure to study the specific crowd and preferred artists of the time. Take a poll from students to see whom they’d pay to watch live
C. What should be the theme for the college fest?
In this segment, we will cover ever-green and easy-to-recreate themes for college events.
1. Retro Theme
It can be recreated with posters, props, and records specific to the culture and time period. For example, the 2000s Bollywood theme will have posters and music from movies of that time.
It’s a good idea to encourage attendees to dress in iconic outfits of the chosen period as well.
You can also educate and entertain the students with relevant performances and trivia questions.
2. Neon Theme
Who doesn’t love bright colorful events?
Create a lively setup with dark interiors and contrasting neon decorations.
You can create it a more immersive experience by giving attendees glow sticks and bands. Besides accessories, having a live neon face painting station is also a great idea.
Don’t forget to complement this atmosphere with upbeat electronic music.
Since you’re working in a dark room, you need a very good lighting team. Neon flashing lights as people dance will create a really cool effect.
3. Carnival theme
This is not only a theme but also a type of school and college event.
A carnival will include booths and games. Some examples include shooting game stalls, ring toss, and bean bag toss.
Besides the many food options, you can’t skip on cotton candy and popcorn. These are classic carnival treats.
The entertainers you hire can include stilt walkers, magicians, and clowns. When hiring them, make sure they’re interactive too.
You could also utilize in-house talent in the college with a talent show. It’s a good cost-cutting measure for entertainment needs.
If you’d like trendier themes, you can head to this article with trending wedding themes. They can be applied to college events too.
4. Beach theme
If you have an open ground at your disposal, this theme is a great way to make use of it.
You can decorate the venue with beach props, tiki torches, and lots of bright flowers.
Summer is the ideal time for this theme but you can recreate a winter beach too.
You may have to restrict the dress code a little bit for obvious reasons. But, you can still ask students to show up in their bright summer clothes.
Since you’re compromising a bit on the dress code, don’t compromise on the food. Service lots of fruit dishes and drinks.
Amongst the regular activities for college events, you must include the classics. Hula hoops, limbo, and volleyball should definitely be part of your event.
You don’t need to hunt down themes when your audience is enthusiastic about culture. We mean, don’t you see all the Korean fairs on the rise these days?
You will have to do your due diligence by researching what geographies excite people the most currently. For example, American crowds love all things Desi and Indian.
Then, you can showcase that country’s culture, food, and traditions in college events.
Organize their traditional dance and music performances as a highlight.
You can even encourage attendees to show up in the traditional attires specific to the theme.
Lastly, you don’t need to pick another country. You can even pick a state from your own country. For example, a Goan fest sounds so cool!
6. Creepy pasta theme
Do the unexpected by having scary college events for once!
Create a spooky atmosphere with haunted circus decorations, eerie flickering lights, and fog machines.
It’s not an overdone event theme yet. And somehow, it’ll excite the students the most.
You can add a haunted twist to regular carnival games like haunted ring toss and zombie shooting gallery.
Outsource haunted house/maze and scare actors.
D. What is prom in college?
Another one of the major college events that deserves a column of its own is prom.
Prom in college refers to a semi-formal dance event hosted at the end of the year. Here, the students are expected to show up in formal and elegant attires.
If the college doesn’t have a huge auditorium, it can even take place at banquet halls and hotels.
It is a ticketed event. You can use a ticket generator to generate event tickets. It should ideally cover the student’s entry, dinner, and entertainment.
We also have a complete guide on prom planning. If prom fits your idea of the upcoming college events, this is all you’ll need!
E. How do you celebrate a college graduation?
A graduation ceremony or convocation is an indispensable list item in college events. This event is for celebration and recognition of those students who finished their degrees. It marks a significant milestone in their life.
It’s a necessary event amongst all other college events. Not only is it a tradition, but it also helps ease students into the next phase of their careers.
Planning college graduation events requires a lot of planning. You will have to begin planning well in advance in order to have a smooth event. All venue bookings, guest invitations, and program arrangements are part of the duties.
You’ll need departments handling:
- Budgeting for college events
- Faculty management
- Student management
- And more, that you can find in the full guide
Refer to this guide to successfully plan a graduation ceremony.
F. How to organize a virtual college event?
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that when the whole world comes to a standstill—the internet keeps us going.
2020 trained us to become proficient in all things digital. So, here’s a quick recap so that you can easily:
- For virtual college events, you will have to first outline its objectives. This may seem like extra work, but this will help you plan the event better. Once you know what to achieve, knowing its action items becomes simpler
- You need the right platform to host digital events. Zoom and Google Meet are not your only or best options
- Create the event schedule. You should know what’s supposed to happen every minute. Include buffer time too
- Market your event properly. Refer to the linked guide in this bullet point
- Keep the virtual college events interactive with presentations, Q&A sessions, and opportunities to turn on the camera
- Fifteen minutes before the event, ensure the connectivity and device are working well
- Send post-event minutes of the meeting or summary. Don’t forget to thank them in this message/mail
- Gather feedback through Google Forms to know how to improve in your next event
G. What can go wrong at college events?
With college events, safety should be and is the topmost priority. You need to follow clear safety guidelines mandated by the government and institution.
In special circumstances, you might even have to follow certain political guidelines. Following COVID-19 protocols is a good idea even if the cases aren’t rising. Social distancing is good even for safety and crowd management.
Have enough staff on the ground to deal with last-moment mishaps. These are common occurrences for college events.
Having enough staff is not sufficient, you also need enough trained individuals. For example, trained medical staff to give first-aid.
Before hosting the event, you must thoroughly check the event for safety hazards. Safety inspections are important even if you regularly host events at the same venue.
Lastly, maintaining smooth communication during college events is important. Convey all possible mishaps as fast as possible so they can be quickly dealt with.
Comment below if you’d like a guide on dealing with mishaps effectively during college events.
We hope this article helped you identify the major college events. Don’t forget to check out the linked resources throughout the article. They’re designed to give you actionable step-by-step procedures for each of the college events.
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