We work to love God and love His world at the same time, including pop culture. The Student Activities Office at Calvin University tries to accomplish two goals in all of its programs:

First, the SAO equips students with the tools and experiences necessary to discern both the positive and negative themes contained in popular culture. One way we do this is by recruiting and training residence hall leaders called “Cultural Discerners” who facilitate discernment activities. We also schedule talks with artists who perform on campus, maintain an educational and informational website, and develop other activities that promote Christian perspectives on popular culture.

Second, we strive to curate season after season of concerts, films, lectures and other programs that allow Calvin students to interact with the best and the brightest artists in a wide array of genres:

  • These include Christian artists making overtly Christian work, such as bands like Switchfoot, Crowder, and The Brilliance.
  • We also host many Christians who work in the mainstream, such as Sufjan Stevens, Julien Baker, Ben Rector, Over The Rhine, Penny and Sparrow, and many others.
  • We also host artists who would not call themselves Christians, like Ingrid Michaelson, The National, Tegan and Sara, and FUN.

Often, the choices presented to college students in North America are to either reject culture at large (and popular culture specifically) or to embrace culture unquestioningly. Historically, Calvin University has tried to develop a “third way” that is an alternative to the separatism of fundamentalism and the accommodation of liberalism. As a university within the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity, Calvin’s approach to popular culture parallels the university’s vision in all areas of creation: to be in the world, but not of the world.

Because of God’s all-encompassing restoration, we don’t have to choose between God and his world. We cannot ignore popular culture’s rightful place in God’s world, nor can we participate in it independent of our faith.


We have a variety of venues we use for concerts, films and other events: