The Student Activities Office at Calvin College tries to accomplish two goals in all of its programs.

First, the SAO seeks to help students engage with popular culture and to discern the positive and negative messages contained within. We attempt to perform this critical Christian service by equipping our students with the tools and experiences necessary to begin discerning culture. As such, we sponsor student discussions, recruit and train residence hall leaders called “Cultural Discerners” who facilitate discernment activities, schedule talks with artists who perform on campus, maintain an educational and informational website, publish scholarly and popular articles in outside publications like Christianity Today and Sojourners magazine, and develop other activities that promote Christian perspectives on popular culture.

Second, we strive to provide a season of concerts, films, lectures and other programs that allow Calvin students to interact with the best and the brightest artists of a wide array of genres. Those artists include contemporary Christian musicians (CCM), such as Caedmon's Call, Jars of Clay and Sandra McCracken. Also, Christians who perform in the mainstream, such as Sufjan Stevens, Bruce Cockburn, Rosie Thomas and Nickel Creek, play here. Finally, the Student Activities series includes artists who would not call themselves Christians, such as Sigur Ros, Death Cab for Cutie, Dave Matthews and Jenny Lewis.

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 College has tried to develop a “third way” that is an alternative to the separatism of fundamentalism and the accommodation of liberalism. As a college within the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity, Calvin’s approach to popular culture parallels the college’s vision in all areas of creation: to be in the world, but not of the world. We're coming at culture with the idea of “Holy Worldliness” in mind, which seeks to be both holy and worldly simultaneously.

While admitting that such a bold path has its risks, Calvin College and the Student Activities Office accept the challenge of equipping young people to be wise and faithful participants and leaders in contemporary society.


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

Note that Ladies Literary Club is not on Calvin's campus.