The Best On-Campus Dates

by
Student, Wellesley College

When you’ve been living, eating, sleeping, studying, and socializing on the same campus for a long time, it can seem daunting to plan a date there because it feels like you’ve already done everything. But never fear! There are plenty of simple ways to put a new spin on campus so that you can experience new things—and get to know someone.

The great outdoors

At many colleges the gorgeous surroundings are a perk of attending, and schools invest tons of time and money in sprucing up the grounds to attract incoming students and please current students and guests. Take advantage by enjoying a walk around campus. You can also find out if your college has hiking trails or scenic bodies of water nearby.

Maybe there’s a part of campus you and your date have never been to; you can use your date to explore the new area. Who knows, it could become your favorite!

Enjoy a bit of a challenge? Check out Geocaching sites at or near your school. It’s a modern-day treasure hunt, where you enjoy the time spent outside and possibly learn some more about local geography.

Finally, if you both are night owls (or have just had too much coffee) and the skies are clear, you can go stargazing. Grab some blankets and find a clear patch, with as little light pollution as possible. Point out any constellations you know, make up new ones, or just see where contemplating the stars takes your conversation.  

Seasonal activities

If you and your date feel sparks fly in the fall, carving pumpkins is a great cheap date that’s limited only by your imagination (and possibly your carving tools). Plus this date leaves you with a product that lasts for weeks and will remind you of the fun time you had together.

In the wintertime, if your campus has a body of water that freezes over well enough, you could consider ice-skating for a date. You could also engage in a friendly snowball fight and/or try building a snow fort.

Work it out

Your pulse is racing when you see that special person anyway—why not get a workout while you’re at it? Jogging, hiking, or bike riding are easy and fun dates. You can also watch your campus gym’s programming list to see if they offer any fitness events the two of you could enjoy. Or your campus gym or an extracurricular club might offer dance lessons, so you and your date could learn to boogie together. It’s a fun activity, and the result is romantic as well!

When you tire yourselves out with all those athletic activities, plan a more low-key sport-themed date by tailgating together or attending a home game just as fans.  

For the foodies

Ah, the classic dinner date. But if you’re on a remote campus with few food options besides the dining hall and one mediocre pizza shop, you might need to take things into your own hands. Besides, there are plenty of ways to incorporate food into easy on-campus dates. First, try having a picnic at the most scenic location on campus (like the outdoor options mentioned above!).

Making a themed dinner is another way to stay on campus and still plan a fun date. Learn about each other’s food preferences while picking a specific cuisine, like Italian, Chinese, or vegetarian fare, and then work together to craft the perfect meal. Or you could put a sweet spin on this idea by making a dessert together. There are plenty of no-bake desserts out there you can make in a dorm. Any way, the result is sure to be delicious. 

Campus events

There are plenty of campus events that could be turned into a date night. If your school’s drama department or theater club is putting on a production of interest to both of you, go! Tickets are usually inexpensive or free.

Similarly, take advantage of musical or artistic opportunities. Your school may regularly bring in musical artists of a variety of genres, and performances for students are generally very cheap or free as well. Or go see your fellow students perform through a choir or a capella group.

If your school has a museum or art galleries on campus, you and your date could spend a leisurely afternoon wandering around, admiring paintings and discussing what you think. Finally, some campuses have a film society that will put on movies for students. Boom—another easy date! All you have to do is bring your own candy.

Spicing up the everyday

For many people a date screams, “elaborate production!” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Ultimately a date is just about getting to know someone, which is actually often easier to do in a simple setting. 

A date can be something as low key as getting coffee. This is an especially good choice when you’re busy and only have time for a quick break from studying or activities. It’s a great way to spend a little time with someone you enjoy.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch your favorite movies in a while, you can introduce your new squeeze to them by hosting your own movie marathon in the nearest living room or rec room. (Just don’t set off the fire alarm while making the popcorn!) You can also grab your favorite board games for a night of friendly competition and fun.

When it’s midterms or finals season and you both need to study—but you also really want to see each other—you could have a study date together. Reserve a room in the library, put on some good music, and bring some snacks if you can. Taking short breaks to talk to each other makes the time fly by.

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