Whether you’re an RA planning an event for your residents or a student who just wants to get to know your floormates, the right entertainment is just what you need to bring the whole dorm together. Movies, television, and sports have a way of uniting people and can be a great tool for icebreakers, community building, and special events. Here are some easy activities to get everyone together for some good old-fashioned fun in your dorm.
1. Host a movie marathon
Who doesn't love movie night? Streaming services make it easier than ever to find a list of favorite titles and put together a movie marathon. Include some classics, comedies, and special flicks that spark childhood nostalgia, and you’ll have something for everyone. Boost the chances of participation by advertising free food or throwing a movie character costume contest and giving simple prizes to the winner. You can center the night around a holiday or use another theme like college-themed movies, horror flicks, or romantic comedies. Just make sure you bring plenty of snacks and provide comfy seating, and you’ll cater to the passersby and binge-watchers alike.
2. Set a weekly “must-see-TV” date
It’s becoming increasingly convenient for busy college kids to watch TV by themselves on their own time with the help of DVR, On Demand, and streaming services they can watch right on their smartphones. But you can turn that isolated experience into something more communal. After all, some shows are just meant to be watched live, on air, and with a group. You can find all kinds of shows that appeal to students with a wide range of interests and bring people together who wouldn’t normally socialize otherwise. Reality shows like Top Chef, Survivor, Big Brother, and The Voice are always more fun to watch with a bunch of people pulling for the winners (and losers). If you have access to cable subscriptions, favorites like Yellowstone, White Lotus, and True Detective are fun to binge together as well. Think about the shows you love to watch and start there. It’s likely others on your floor or in the building are fans too, even if there are just a few. Be creative for season premieres and finale episodes, or use more of your budget to attract a bigger crowd with pizza or show-specific food.
3. Build team spirit with the big game
With the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, there are endless opportunities to root for the home (or away) team on a near-nightly basis. There's always a college sport in season too—from football “bowls” to March Madness—so you can easily use school pride (and fantasy teams) to get people together. Plan a game-watching party for community building; you can work with another RA to book some shared space, get a projector, and open it up to the entire building. If you prepare some easy game-day snacks like nachos or chicken wings, even those who aren’t into sports will want to stop by. Better yet, get out of the dorm and take advantage of free student entry to university athletic games! You can gather a group to dress up, paint faces, make signs, and cheer for your friends on the field.
4. Visit a local theater
Though this will take more coordination and planning than a cozy movie screening in the dorm, visiting the campus theater or local movie house can be an enticing way to get students out of their rooms. Blockbusters may be more appealing to a larger group, but a smaller group looking for something more artistic can prove to be an even more rewarding and personal experience. You could even make it part of a larger series of programming around a particular social topic as an opportunity to engage students in local issues.
When screening television or movies, always make sure you follow your college’s guidelines for public presentations—there may be hurdles depending on what you want to show. And if your college has its own movie channel or movie library that offers new or classic films with screening rights purchased, make use of that when you can. To add even more of a social element, try hosting a post-screening discussion. It’s a great way for people to get to know each other and connect over shared interests.
Whether you hang out in your dorm or venture off campus, there are a ton of ways to get residents together, bond, and create new friendships and memories. Just remember to bring the food—that's the common factor in every successful college get-together!
Looking for more inspiration or a unique theme for an on-campus event? Check out 10 Fun College Party Ideas to Enrich Your Campus Experience.