Originally Posted: Dec 6, 2018
Last Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Whether you’re an RA planning an event for your residents or a student who just wants to get to know your floor mates, 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.
Host a movie marathon
It’s cold outside, and everyone is ready for some holiday cheer, so why not hunker down for a night of holiday movies? Movie-streaming services make it easier than ever to find a list of favorite titles and put together a 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 throwing an ugly-sweater or movie-character costume contest and give simple prizes to the winner. And once the holidays are over? Create a motive marathon around another theme, like college-themed movies, horror movies, or romantic comedies. Just make sure you bring plenty of snacks and comfy seating, and you’ll cater to the passersby and binge-watchers alike.
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 smart phone. 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. Shows like This Is Us or The Walking Dead appeal to students with a wide range of interests, and they can bring people together who wouldn’t normally socialize otherwise. Reality programs like Top Chef, Survivor, 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 HBO, new seasons of favorites like Game of Thrones and True Detective are highly anticipated week to week.
Think about the shows you routinely 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 the season premiere and finale, or use more of your budget to attract a bigger crowd with pizza or show-specific food.
Related: 7 Tips for Making Friends in College
Build team spirit with the big game
With the NFL, NBA, and NHL all in full swing, there are endless opportunities to root for the home team on a near nightly basis. And with college football “bowl” season quickly approaching and the college basketball season upon us, you can easily use school pride (and fantasy teams) to get people together. Plan a game-watching party for community building—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.
Visit local theaters
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.