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One of the challenges of dating on a rural college campus is coming up with fun and new things to do while being practically broke and potentially car-less. What’s an Ole to do? I’ve got you covered.

12 Cheap and Creative Dates – without a Car

1. Movie in a classroom: This is an upgrade from your casual movie night in. I’m not going to pretend to know the college policy on using classrooms for movies, but I can tell you that it’s happened. And it’s fun.

2. Turn a Cafeteria or Cage date into a picnic: Take a tried and tested Stav Hall favorite and spice it up a little by taking your food outside during the two days it’s not below freezing on campus.

3. Sledding Down the Hill: I am absolutely not going to tell you to use cafeteria trays as sleds. And I am absolutely not going to tell you that hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps tastes great after being out in the snow. That would be irresponsible.

4. Star Gazing in the Natural Lands: I firmly believe that the Natural Lands are highly underrated and that, at night, they are incredibly romantic. Plus, you could stay up all night and watch the sun rise over Big Ole. What could be more characteristic of the perfect St. Olaf couple?

5. Catch a bus up to Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA): You might need to be dating an art major for this one, but classes bus students up to MIA for field trips a few times a semester. The museum itself is free, so if there is extra room on the bus, professors will sometimes ask if anyone has a friend (or significant other – hint, hint) who wants to tag along.

6. Sign up for a Student Activities Committee (SAC) event together: SAC is always planning fun trips off campus, often for as little as $5. Skating at the Depot? They’ve done it. Skyzone? They’ve done it. Apple Orchard? They’ve done it. Watch for the SAC table outside the cafeteria, and sign up quick because these events often sell out.

7. Walk into Northfield: Downtown is pretty close, and a stroll can be a good time to chat. Try catching some live music at the Contented Cow or spend a Saturday morning at the Northfield Farmer’s Market.

8. Play board games: You probably know all the dorms have games you can borrow. But did you know the library has a bunch that you can check out too? I have it on good authority that they are kept on the fourth floor.

9. Practice room private concert: I take it back. This is a even more stereotypical St. Olaf date than watching the sunrise in the Natural Lands. But, to be fair, there is so much talent at St. Olaf. A song played or sung just for you is super sweet, and practice rooms are pretty private too, just saying. (95% sure profs won’t count this as practice time, but you could always try.)

10. Dinner at Carleton: Dinner at a cafeteria where you won’t recognize everyone in line behind you for mashed potatoes? Count me in. Take the shuttle over and try one of Carleton’s two cafeterias. We have meal swipe reciprocity, no big deal.

11. Bulletin Board Date: Stand in front of the bulletin board in Buntrock and chose an event that neither of you has heard of. You might both end up at Ole STEM or something, but at least it’ll be something interesting and new.

12. Geocaching: Treasure hunting? Count me in. Use www.geocaching.com to get coordinates for the 17 Geocaches within a mile of campus. I personally am very excited to try to find “The Ghost of Ytterboe the Dog” cache.


Having trouble navigating the St. Olaf dating scene? Need help finding a date? Got more dates than you can handle? Or have a response to this week’s column? E-mail your questions to mess-ae@stolaf.edu and maybe one of our love columnists will answer them in next week’s issue. All submitted questions will remain anonymous.