Creative Festival and Competition Ideas

festival and competitions

As one of the strangest academic years in recent history comes to a close, campus recreation departments at universities and colleges across the nation are still going strong.

Here are a few creative festival and competition ideas rec departments are using to bring students together after a year where everyone was forced apart:

Earthfest at the University of Dayton

On April 18, 2021, the University of Dayton Campus Recreation hosted a celebration in honor of Earth Day. Event partners included Hanley Sustainability and the Sustainability Club, Environmental Biology, and the Rivers Institute.

Located at Old River Park, the list of activities included:

  • Live music
  • Food trucks
  • Yard games
  • Slacklining
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Paddle boarding
  • Yoga in the park
  • Fishing

Other on-campus organizations also got involved. The Sustainability Club provided mini recyclable Dixie cups to plant your own plant. And 4Paws for Ability brought dogs to interact with participants.

Finally Unplugged Fest at Penn State

On April 23, 2021, Penn State University’s Campus Recreation is hosting a multi-event team challenge called Finally Unplugged Fest.

Teams are made up of five students who will work through each challenge together. There are six separate 75-minute sessions that day to allow for 50 teams to sign up for each session. After teams conclude their challenges, they can head over to the Park Avenue Fields for music and a free meal.

The games include:

  • Showdown at the Slingshot Saloon
  • Rootin’ Tootin’ Aim ‘n Shootin’ archery challenge
  • Pandemic Paint Party
  • Tremendously Tricky Tower station
  • Boss of the Toss Corn Hole Relay

Each participant will also receive a free beach towel. Plus, the prizes up for grabs include MacBooks, Beats headphones, AirPods, restaurant gift cards, boat rentals at Stone Valley Outdoor Rec Area, Penn State apparel and more.

The Leatherneck Games at Western Illinois University

Toted as a five-day functional fitness competition, the Leatherneck Games tested participants on all aspects of fitness from April 19-23, 2021.

Each day, participants faced a workout. Those who wished to participate signed up for a time slot during a certain time block to do the workout at the Recreation Center.

The workouts included:

  • A 2,000-meter row for time.
  • A one-rep-max deadlift.
  • Movements like burpees, air squats, Olympic weightlifting, etc.
  • A surprise workout on the final day, with the only instructions being to show up at Vince Grady Field.

The cost was $15 per person which included a Leatherneck Games T-shirt. Ultimately, WIU’s goal was to crown one male and one female as the “Fittest on Campus.”

Do you have any creative festival or competition ideas you’d like to share? Email

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Heather Hartmann
Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at

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