Party in My Dorm: 6 Ways to Use Tech to Entertain

Your dorm party should be so much more than just pizza and music

Male college student playing music on a laptop at a dorm party with friends dancing behind him
Master new tech and use it to enhance your parties on campus.

 Westend61

Technology can help you be more efficient and organized on college campuses but it can also enhance your next dorm party and make it one to remember.

Here are some of the best and cheapest ways to use tech to take your dorm party to the next level and maybe even get it trending on social media. Best thing is, you probably already have access to everything you need.

Get Your Party Trending With a Social Hashtag Display

A great way to add an extra layer of interactivity and engagement to your college dorm party is to create a display that shows real-time social media posts from guests. All you need is a service like TweetBeam or TaggBox, a computer or smartphone, and a television set or projector to display the live feed rendered on your device.

A collection of Twitter tweets about college and partying
Services like TweetBeam can visualize specific social media posts.  TweetBeam

TweetBeam allows anyone to use their service for free from their website, while TaggBox offers new users a seven-day free trial, which is all you'll need for a one-off party. Both services essentially work the same way by collecting all posts using a specific hashtag and presenting them on an animated feed. Just make sure to create a completely unique hashtag like #dormparty6372. Otherwise, you might see posts from social media users at completely different events run by total strangers.

Curate Party Playlists With Spotify

Spotify is a fantastic tool for parties; not only because it lets you easily create unique playlists of your favorite songs, but also due to its ability to import playlists made by others. Anyone at your party can search for their own playlists on your Spotify app, whether it's on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

A male college student currating a Spotify playlist on his computer
Create your own Spotify party playlist and collaborate on it with your friends.  PeopleImages / DigitalVision 

Spotify playlists can also be marked as a collaborative playlist via the options drop-down menu on each playlist page. This setting allows everyone to edit a playlist in the days or hours leading up to your party, which should result in a track list that everyone's happy with. People can also edit the song list while your party is still going. Perfect for the wannabe DJs in your group.

To turn a regular Spotify playlist into a collaborative playlist, click on the ellipsis (three dots) next to the playlist name, then click Collaborative Playlist from the drop-down menu. After this is done, click the Share link (also in the ellipsis menu) to send your playlist to your friends via a chat app such as Telegram or Skype, or a social network like Twitter and Facebook. Your friends will need a free or paid Spotify account to edit your list.

Xbox and Kinect for an Engaging Dance Party

Dance video games such as Just Dance and Dance Central can make for a fun party on their own, or be an entertaining themed activity for a single room in a multi-room dorm party. These video games use the Kinect sensor (basically an advanced camera and microphone device) to track players' bodies and scores them at the end of each song based on their dancing technique. Players can easily jump in or out, and the experience is just as fun to watch as it is to play.

If you have the budget, it's worth buying or renting the original Xbox One console that comes with the Kinect sensor and often supports more players. If money's tight, the older Xbox 360 console actually has the same Just Dance games as the Xbox One and is significantly cheaper since it's older tech.

Three college friends playing the Dance Central video game with Kinect on Xbox 360
Kinect dance games are the perfect way to get friends off the couch at a college party.  Harmonix

It's worth noting that Just Dance video games from Just Dance 2016 onwards are still playable without the Kinect sensor due to a feature that lets people download a free smartphone app and use their smartphone as a motion tracking device. It's an alternative option if someone has an Xbox One on campus but doesn't have the Kinect sensor.

Retro Consoles For an Old School Gaming Party

The graphics on newer video games are impressive but when it comes to gaming parties, you really can't beat the pure enjoyment that comes from playing a classic from the 80s and 90s. Levels and multiplayer matches in older games are usually shorter than modern ones, which means no one at the party will have to wait too long to get their turn. Many classic video games are also more accessible to the average non-gamer as well, which can make the experience all the more inviting. Everyone knows Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter for example. No long training session for casual gamers required.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition
Nintendo's Super NES Classic Edition brings the retro gaming fun to any college campus party.  Nintendo

The simplest way to play some retro video games is to pick up one of the classic console re-releases that have a variety of popular titles already installed. Nintendo's NES and SuperNES Classic Edition mini consoles are a great idea, though there's also the Sega Genesis classic console. Many modern gaming consoles also have digital versions of retro titles, so you can play games like Street Fighter and Sonic on your Xbox One or PlayStation 4, too.

Stream Your Dorm Party on Instagram or Twitch

Odds are at least a few people will be broadcasting your party on social media, so why not create an official stream? All you need is to set up your smartphone or tablet in a fixed position somewhere in your dorm, open your preferred app, and hit the live button. It's likely someone on campus has a tripod for a smartphone or a selfie stick that you could borrow, but if no one does, there's always tape.

Blond college student live streaming her party on Instagram with her iPhone
Streaming your party on Instagram can really take it to the next level. Sam Edwards / Caiaimage

The best social network to use for a party livestream would be Instagram, though Twitch and Facebook are also good options depending on where your social media audience is.

Organize Your Party Guest List With a Facebook Event

It always pays to be organized, and Facebook's Event feature is a great way to be just that. Facebook Event pages allow you to invite others to your party while also allowing them to invite their own friends if you wish. The Facebook Event page is a convenient way to list party information such as the time and date, location, dress code, and mention if guests need to bring any food or drinks.

Female college student inviting friends to a party with a Facebook Event page on her laptop
Using a Facebook event to invite your friends to your dorm party is a free and easy way to stay organized.  Brendan O'Sullivan / Photolibrary

The best thing about using a Facebook Event page is Facebook will remind all attendees in the days leading up to it and also on the day of the event. Remember to set the Event page to private, as you don't want random people showing up to your dorm uninvited.