Fall Outreach Frenzy: 50 Ways to Meet New Students This Fall

It’s been said the first few weeks on campus are the most decisive weeks of a student’s college career. The friends a student makes at the beginning of the year can have a lifelong impact on his or her values, perspectives, and decisions.

As missionaries and evangelists, we have an amazing opportunity to meet and connect with college students during this significant window of time. In this post, you’ll find a list of 50 Fall Outreach ideas, many of them submitted by veteran FOCUS Team Directors.

One thought before we dive in: As you meet what may easily become hundreds of students this fall, remember that each one is a person, infinitely loved by God. The goal is not simply to collect as many names and phone numbers as possible, but rather to have meaningful interactions with the potential to develop into authentic human relationships.

That said, here are 50 great ways to meet and connect with college students this fall:

  1. Organize a game of glow-in-the-dark Ultimate Frisbee (with colored glow sticks to distinguish teams)
  2. “Catholic rush week” – one event per day after the student activities/student organization fairs
  3. Life-size Mario Kart
  4. Set up a volleyball net on the quad and invite passers-by to play
  5. Help with freshman move-in
  6. Rent a huge screen/projector and have a movie night on the quad
  7. Eat in the cafeteria/dining hall; make a point to sit with those who don’t have anyone to sit with
  8. Set up a table at the student organization fair
  9. At the student organization fair, sign up for two or three clubs you’d be interested in joining. Get on the email lists and go to the first few meetings to meet students with shared interests!
  10. Organize a white-water rafting trip
  11. Give out donuts, juice, and coffee on the first day of classes
  12. Walk around campus selling raffle tickets to win a $20 gift card to a local favorite restaurant. On the back of the ticket, have them write their contact information and have two check boxes asking them if they are “interested in growing in their faith” and “interested in Bible Study.”
  13. Organize a game of disc golf
  14. Free hot chocolate outside of the fraternity houses during rush week, especially in the evening
  15. Slack lining
  16. Pig wrestling
  17. Throw a Luau… complete with pig roast. (After the pig wrestling, perhaps?
  18. Giant Catholic Jenga. Have questions on each giant wooden piece that must be answered when pulled from the stack! (This set is not too hard to build – just takes a trip to Home Depot!)
  19. Set up a game of four-square
  20. Bob for apples – winner gets a prize!
  21. Set up a lemonade stand. Include a stand-up white board with questions (Ex: Have you ever read a book of the Bible for fun? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? If you had 90 seconds to say something to the entire world, what would it be? etc.) Or, include a quote by a saint or the Pope, or a trivia question usually relating to Pope Francis.
  22. Have a root beer float party and hand out the floats in FOCUS cups
  23. Free popsicles on a hot day!
  24. Varsity Catholic Event: ​​Have a BBQ in the middle of campus put on by the athlete student leaders for all athletes.
  25. Have a huge BBQ blowout!
  26. Outdoor carnival (Massive water slide, bouncy houses, sno cone machines, greased pig chase…)
  27. Wear a monkey costume and pass out banana-shaped flyers with fall outreach events on them
  28. Go camping with new students
  29. Throw a root beer pong tournament
  30. Rent a blow-up jousting ring
  31. Sidewalk Chalk. All over campus. FOCUS logos, event times, directions to the Newman Center, etc.
  32. Kubb (an awesome lawn game)
  33. Life-size game of Kerplunk.
  34. Hold a men’s paintball outing, complete with a talk on virtue and brown bag lunches afterward
  35. “Ask a question, get a cookie.” Ingredients: cookies, sign, questions. Ask students if they want an easy question or a hard question!
  36. Host the first Bible Studies of the year in the dorms. Helps facilitate bonds among students who live nearby
  37. Free Speech Board: Cover a table with a big sheet of white paper. Have some Sharpies on hand, along with a sign that says “Free Speech Board: Come Write Your Thoughts on ____!” (X could be Pope Francis or some other topic). Read what they write, and strike up a conversation.
  38. Food and lawn games.
  39. Life-size Angry Birds
  40. FOCUS Greek Toga Party.
  41. Go Dorm Storming on move-in day (knock on doors and hand out flyers with Mass times, etc.)
  42. Organize a chair stacking competition
  43. Organize a beach day/beach retreat
  44. Attend big, campus-wide events that the school puts on. All the fun of meeting new people without the planning!
  45. Get some cute puppies and just walk them around campus.
  46. Throw an outdoor party with live music
  47. Organize a massive game of Capture the Flag
  48. Play Humans VS. Zombies at the FOCUS House or Newman Center. Fog up the rooms, turn the furniture on its side, kill the lights, throw on some creepy music, get some Nerf guns… you get the idea!
  49. Get a group of musically talented missionaries/students together and have an impromptu jam session out on campus. Between songs, introduce yourselves as being from the Catholic Center.
  50. Have a pow-wow with all missionaries and student leaders to brainstorm ideas that would work best for YOUR specific campus.

Happy Fall Outreach! It’s truly an exciting and pivotal time. May the seeds you plant this fall lead to abundant fruit in years to come.

Daniel Paris
Daniel Paris
Daniel is a ninth-year missionary with FOCUS, having served two years on campuses on the east coast and seven years in the national Formation department. Daniel and his wife Allison have been incredibly blessed and are thrilled to be newly married and on mission together.

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