Anyone who's ever seen a movie about college life has been exposed to the stereotype that the university years are a sex sandwich with alcohol as the bread and studying as maybe the mustard. Just like most situations, the reality is a little less exciting than the cinematic version. However, whether you're a student finding the party scene a little slower than you expected, a non-drinker wondering how you'll find a good time, or just someone looking for a fun new activity, there are plenty of fun (and completely legal) things to do in a college setting.
1) Movie Night. Tried and true, settling down with a good movie works for any group--friends, a date, or even family. Rent a couple flicks and pop up some popcorn. Consider a comedy or awesomely bad film to keep yourself and your friends laughing. Turn the sound down and make up your own words. If you're looking for something a little more romantic, pick a more sultry movie and turn down the lights, cuddle up and enjoy. On a super- tight budget, look for a RedBox in front of local stores--you can rent a movie for just a dollar.
2) Board Games. No, I'm not talking about Candy Land (although I'm not one to judge, if that's what you want). There are plenty of games that are a blast for older people too. Apples to Apples is a personal favorite, a card game that asks each player to provide a noun that they think matches the given adjective, often with hilarious results. Other great games include Last Word, Scene It, Scattergories, Catchphrase, Taboo, Twister, Cranium, and Pictionary . . . just check out the board game aisle.
3) Squirt Gun Fights. This can go one of two ways. You could grab some friends, all willing participants, and go out to have a fair, wet fight. Then again, you could do it my way--choose a couple of allies and find a hiding spot, then ambush the passersby. CAUTION: be careful who you attack, not everyone will find this funny. It's probably best to save your squirting for friends.
4) TP a dorm. Often, people in a dorm leave their doors unlocked while they run down the hall to see a friend. If this isn't the case in your dorm, you may need to engineer a distraction. Either way, you need to get your buddies out of their room. Once the room is vacated, grab a pal or three a few rolls of toilet paper and go to town. Then run. Run away. (Again, better to do this to a friend.)
5) Start or Join a Service Club. Whether your passion is music, art, sports, books, knitting, or cooking, chances are there's a service organization that could make great use of your talents. Sure, it may sound a little cheesy, but it truly feels great to help someone who needs you. If you recruit some friends, you can have a good time while doing a good thing. Bonus: This looks great on a job or grad school application!
6) Learn a Dance. YouTube is a great resource for instructional videos on dance moves. Learn a hot new one to try out next time you're clubbin', it's bound to be a hit. My roommate and I learned the entire Thriller dance and showed it off at our building's formal. It was a lot of fun and great exercise.
7) Bake or Cook Something: If your building has a communal kitchen and you have the funds to buy supplies, try baking up a treat or cooking a fun snack or meal. The internet is packed with recipes, try one you've never made or maybe never eaten. If you're low on cash, plenty of recipes are available for those on a budget.
8) Explore. Pick a part of your campus or the surrounding area you don't know much about. If it's safe, take a trip there with some friends. Maybe you'll discover something new and exciting. Even if you don't, at least you'll know you're not missing anything.
9) Hookah, Anyone? As a music student, I need my lungs too much to smoke anything. However, I have a lot of close friends that sing the praises of a good hookah experience. It's clean, flavored tobacco and completely legal for those over 18. I'm told it's tasty, relaxing, and a great way to hang out and chat with friends.
10) Go Duct-Tape Bowling. This one got my friends and me in trouble in our hallway, but if you're not in the middle of quiet hours and have less fussy neighbors, you'll probably be okay. Set up some plastic bottles in the hallway. (I know what you're thinking, but plenty of things come in bottles like milk, shampoo, soda. You'll find something innocent.) Choose an appropriate distance away and toss a roll of tape down the hall to see who can knock the most down. Throwing is cheating, you have to roll it. It's harder than it seems, too. My tip: Don't do this during midterms, and try to get your RA hooked early in the game.
As you can see, there are all kinds of cheap, fun things to do in a college dorm or college town without worrying about whether or not you'll get busted for drinking. These aren't the only options: make a movie, play other pranks on your buds, play video games, toss around a football or Frisbee, just pick something you're interested in and MAKE it fun. As you may have noticed, friends are the key to any of these activities, so grab a buddy and have a good time.