The media often makes it seem as if underage drinking is the main social activity for college students, but most campuses actually have an impressive number of recreational activities available. No matter what you're interested in, your college or university probably has a group that you can join or an event that you can attend to meet new friends.
College students who are interested in the arts can look into attending dance performances, concerts, or plays on campus. Generally, performances by students or community groups are free or have only a small admissions charge. Professional performances are more expensive, but you can often receive discounted student tickets. In some cases, you may be able to see a performance for free if you volunteer to work as an usher for the event.
Most college campuses also have free book signings, poetry readings, and art exhibits that you can attend. Such events often serve refreshments, so you can even snag a free meal as you're getting to know some of your fellow students.
If sports are your thing, consider getting student tickets to attend athletic events on campus or signing up to play on an intramural team. You can also attend tailgating parties sponsored by various student organizations or see if there are groups on campus throwing parties to watch events such as the Super Bowl.
Community Service Groups
Community service activities are very popular on college campuses. Sororities and fraternities usually incorporate community service into their activity schedules, and National Honor Society chapters also ask members to do community service on a regular basis. However, you don't need to be a member of one of those groups to volunteer. At many schools, there is a volunteer fair at the beginning of the year where various organizations set up booths to recruit students to help with projects. You can also contact your campus activities board to ask about groups that are seeking assistance.
If your spiritual beliefs are an important part of your life, see if there are churches in your community that have active congregations. Many churches organize movie nights, ice cream socials, dances, or other activities to help attract and retain young members.
Meet new friends and help your career at the same time by joining a professional association on campus. Most colleges and universities have student chapters of professional groups, such as the Society of Professional Journalists. When you join a group, you'll meet people who share your career goals while learning about internships and job opportunities in your field.
Minority students may want to consider joining a group such as the African Student Association, Black Student Union, American Indian Student Association, Asian American Coalition, or International Student Organization. Many colleges also have groups for gay and lesbian students or nontraditional students.
Think Quality, Not Quantity
Remember that you don't need to be a member of many different groups to have an enjoyable college experience. If your goal is to create lifelong friendships, it's better to be heavily involved in just a few activities than it is to spread yourself too thin and sporadically attend meetings and events for many different organizations.