Campus Life


Memories are made here. You’ll love our unique traditions and strong sense of community. It’s rare to find spirit like this anywhere, but at Central it’s a big part of who we are.

Get to know some of our favorite traditions:

The Lemming Race

You know Central is home when you’d rather dress up for the Lemming Race than Halloween. Urban legend sparked this beloved Homecoming tradition, and we celebrate in over-the-top style each year. Create your wildest costume, follow the Grand Lemming and race your friends (and our president) to the pond!


Students playing gennis on campus.

Let’s Play Gennis

Gorgeous weather always means gennis at Central. Known elsewhere as “urban golf,” gennis is a Central favorite played with golf clubs and tennis balls. Watch where you hit, though—the pond is surprisingly chilly!


The pond is a hub of activity on Central's campus.

Watch the Pond

So many of our favorite traditions revolve around the pond! Savvy students know how to avoid getting tossed in the pond on their birthday (especially January birthdays). We play hockey on the pond in winter, then watch for returning geese, tadpoles and other springtime creatures as the weather gets warmer!

So Legit

Want to do real research? At Central, you can tackle the kinds of original projects usually reserved for graduate students. Don’t miss your chance to collaborate with a faculty member—meaningful research opportunities are available in every major.

Be Our Guest

Want to really know your professors? It’s awesome spending time with faculty and students off campus, too. Your first chance comes only days after moving in—you’re invited to dinner with faculty, staff, and alumni in their homes or creative locations around town. Not to mention, you can mingle with classmates at President Putman’s house when he hosts your first-year picnic. Welcome to the family!


Student section at a Central Dutch football game

Go Dutch!

We’ve got lots of athletes on campus—one of every two students! Our long tradition includes much to celebrate, like 11 NCAA championships. And let’s not forget the coaches—since 1974, Central coaches have been honored 132 times as Iowa Conference Coach of the Year. HOO-RAH!

See the World

Did you know more than half of Central students go abroad to study and complete internships? That’s way more than the 10 percent national average. So, where do you want to go?

We’ve Got Under Armour

Central students wear a LOT of red. We were the first Iowa college or university to become an Under Armour school, and we always have something to cheer about.

Most Delicious Day of the Week

We all have a favorite day in Central Market—fresh-cookie Tuesday, ice-cream sundae Wednesday, Mongolian Friday and more. Central is always cooking up delicious food with fresh, local ingredients.

Green and Greener

We’re committed to sustainability—Central has even been named one of the nation’s greenest colleges by the Princeton Review. Want to help grow organic produce for campus meals? Or propose your own project to win money from the Green Fund? As a student, you can participate in a host of different sustainability projects each year.


Participate alongside students, faculty and staff on our annual Service Day!

We Live to Serve

Serving others is a Central tradition, and you can participate through our annual Service Day, academic coursework—even while studying abroad! Don’t miss your chance to connect with Central’s amazing network of service in Pella and around the world.

 Our Hottest Studio

Central has one of the only Iowa studios where you can learn to blow glass. Our first studio was built in a week after a traveling glassblower demonstrated his work on Peace Mall! Now established for more than 40 years, the class is available to any student who is interested.


The Central faithful love eating Breakfast of Champions.

Breakfast of Champions

Fuel up for finals with a late-night breakfast served by faculty and staff. What’s better than doughnuts at midnight?

The Flying Pans

Perhaps Central’s most unique ensemble, the Flying Pans steel drum band is always up to something new, such as its Halloween concert: “Zombie Steel.”

Sounds Like Christmas

We all get goosebumps during the Christmas Candlelight Concert. Our famous A Cappella Choir performs with college and community musicians for one of Central’s favorite events of the year.