University is a great time to try new hobbies and sports, and this is built into many universities through societies, groups where you can meet others that also love the same things as you. Once you get beyond first year, you may even get the chance to start or lead a society that you are a member of. However, this responsibility comes with stresses, for example it can be hard to come up with event ideas for your society.
If this is you, or you are involved in planning for a society, this article will give you some great ideas for events, as well as tips on how to make them fun for everyone who attends.
1. Treasure Hunt
While it may seem a little childish, treasure hunts are always fun to get to know a place. This idea is particularly good for freshers, who may not know their way around yet, to help them get to know the campus or buildings at your university.
Also, you can come up with things to find that are linked to the theme of your society, for example a hunt around the sports facilities for sports societies.
Eventbrite has a list of 9 scavenger hunt ideas that are fun for adults, if you’re stuck for ideas!
2. Pub Quiz
Pub quizzes are a classic for university students. They are a great way to spend time with friends in your society, or to make new ones, and also to have a good drink and laugh.
To hold a pub quiz, contact local pubs and bars to see if you can hire them out for the night, or simply enter teams into pre-existing pub quizzes.
For a bonus factor, arrange teams with people who may not know each other to encourage unity within your society, and help people make friends across year groups or friend groups.
3. Dinner Out
University students are famous for their bad cooking skills, and even those who have catered accommodation are not much better. It can be very tiring to always cook for yourself.
Societies can encourage participation in their socials by offering food, or holding them in a restaurant, where members can have a nice meal.
For a cheaper choice, try ordering pizzas, or having a “sandwich bar” with lots of different topping options. If your society is themed around a certain country, or cultural diversity, try going to a restaurant or making food that represents that country!
4. Cinema Night/Movie Night
This is another classic choice for any social event. Having a movie night or going to the cinema as a group is a relatively low cost and easy option for a fun social.
If you want to go all out, why not see if you can hire a cinema, or get a big screen to project the movies onto. Then all you need is blankets and popcorn, and you have a winning social in a low pressure and fun environment!
5. Board Game Night
Board games are a classic for a reason. In a world where we spend so much time on screens, it can be relaxing to spend time away from our phones and laptops and do something easy like a board game.
Uno and Cluedo are always winning games, but again why not try and find some games related to your society’s theme, for example monopoly for a business soc?
Make sure to use easy games that most people will already know the rules for, or this could end up being more stress than fun for attenders. Also, stay away from more complex games unless you are a society focused on these, as they might feel intimidating to newcomers.
6. Sports Day
We all participated in sports day at primary school, and many remember events such as the egg and spoon race with fondness.
This means that a classic sports day is a great event that will get people being competitive in a friendly way, which makes it a winner for a university society event.
If you are a sports society, why not pair up with other sports societies and try out each other’s sports for a day? Teaching each other how to play will always be a lot of fun!
There are also a lot of benefits of exercising for students! You can read about them in this Think Student article.
7. Fancy Dress
Fancy dress events are another classic for good reason: they allow members to be creative, but also to act differently to how they do in everyday life, which can be very freeing.
However, normal fancy dress costumes can be expensive, and many university students could not afford to take part in this sort of event. Therefore, themes such as “anything but clothes”, where attendees make an outfit out of household items and wear it are becoming more popular.
As always, a prize being available it will incentivise people to come along, so have a vote for the best costume and try not to get overly competitive!
8. Trips or Visits
It is always nice to get a change of scenery, especially for university students who are often in the same campus for a long time. Additionally, many students are very stressed and going on a fun trip can be a great distraction from everyday university stress.
Some tips on how to manage your stress at university can be found in this Think Student article, if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Examples of trips you could go on include things related to your society, such as to see a football game if you are a football soc, or to a historical monument if you are a history soc. However, other less serious ideas include bowling or laser tag, mini golf, and even a trampoline park.
9. Escape Rooms
An escape room is another classic activity for groups of students. The challenge of overcoming obstacles and working as a team can be again a great distraction from the stresses of deadlines and homework.
It can also be a good bonding activity to help make new friends or work better as a team in other areas of campus life.
Some escape rooms are themed, so for example you could visit a Halloween escape room or other seasonal attractions, or a physics escape room if you are a science society.
You could even have a social where you create an escape room for other students on campus to visit that is linked to your society’s theme.
10. Campus Hide and Seek
Similar to a treasure hunt, playing campus hide and seek is a great way to get to know your campus and surroundings, while also having a lot of fun.
Make some ground rules, such as how long you will hide for, and who will be the winner, then send off your teams to choose their best hiding spot.
This is particularly fun in dorms or a college environment, as the smaller area means hiding spots need to be more creative, as well as being potentially easier to find, which increases competition.
11. Bingo Night
While it can be derided as an activity for “old people”, bingo is actually a lot of fun. Sitting with your friends and having friendly competition over who can get rows and scores the fastest, as well as small prizes such as sweets or coupons, makes bingo a winner for university society socials.
For societies that focus on charity or community, why not go and join a local bingo night, or run one at a local community organisation?
Connecting with your community while helping to raise money is something every university society should be able to get behind.
12. Society Quiz
If you are looking for another low budget idea, why not hold a society quiz? Some trivia on your society theme and fun questions about members of your society will easily fill up the whole evening with a great bonding activity.
Perhaps two truths and a lie, or baby picture guessing of the leadership team of the society, or all members if it is small, could be a clever way to encourage connections.
Quizzes are great because they can also be done online, which means you can still hold a great society event.
13. T-Shirt Marker Party
This may sound strange, but if you are looking for a way to spice up a regular social such as a ball or going out to a club, then have all the members of your group or society wear a white t-shirt and carry a marker pen.
The aim is to get as many things written on the t-shirt as possible, either by people in the society or almost like a treasure hunt with different people to find.
Not only is this a good way to make a night out more interesting, it also makes a great memento for the end of term or last year at university.
14. Hire a Soft Play Place
Last but not least is hiring out or visiting a play place, such as a soft play park, for your society. While this may again seem childish, I have personally arranged similar events for my social groups, and we all had a huge amount of fun.
The ability to let go and be childish again is a wonderful way to relax from the stress of university, as well as to make friends with people that you may not otherwise have spoken to.