Creative Ways to Celebrate

A young woman in a summer dress stands at the Sample Gates with her decorated graduation cap.

Cap it off in style

The cap and gown are the traditional apparel for Commencement, but you can still add your own style and color to the outfit. Get creative with your cap decorations! It’s a fun activity to do with friends and it helps your family spot you during the ceremony. Plus you can enter the cap decorating contest to win prizes!

Finish your IU bucket list

When you first arrived on campus, you probably saw the IU Bucket List during orientation or were informed of some “must do” activities by friends. Now is the time to finish that list! And maybe add a few more items to round out your experience. Try these iconic activities so that you can leave campus knowing you lived your Hoosier life to the fullest.

  • Attend a free athletic event (you know, the sports that don’t get air time but still feature amazing athletes)
  • Go to a local farmers’ market and get some homegrown grub
  • Enjoy a meal at one of the international restaurants on Fourth Street
  • Visit the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center or Kumbum Chamtse Ling Monastery
  • Watch a movie at the IU Cinema
  • Hike the trails at Griffy Lake or the Hoosier National Forest
  • Go swimming in Lake Monroe (even more fun if you rent a boat)
  • Visit some of the amazing museums on campus
  • Savor the arts at a local art gallery
  • Walk, skate, or ride your bike along the B-Line Trail
A highly attractive picture of the Sample Gates flanked by flower beds of red tulips on a sunny spring day.
A magical image of a small ornate limestone gazebo in a lush forest (Dunn's Woods) on the IU Bloomington campus.
A group of male and female students in graduation attire crowd around the bronze statue of former university president Herman B Wells for a commemorative photo.

The best photo backdrops

The IU campus is one of the most Instagrammed places in Indiana for good reason. You can find beautiful scenes in every corner of campus, and they make a perfect backdrop for a graduation photo. Here are some favorites.

  • The Sample Gates (then turn around and take one facing Kirkwood Avenue)
  • Rose Well House
  • Herman B Wells statue
  • Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall
  • Showalter Fountain (in front of the IU Auditorium)
  • A limestone arch (there are many on campus, including the courtyard at the IMU, Memorial Hall, Myers Hall, or Beck Chapel)
  • Outside your school or next to the school sign

Pump up the volume

Can you imagine walking proudly in the Commencement procession without music? Not a chance! Music is a part of any celebration, including graduation. Get nostalgic with the Indiana University Traditions playlist on Spotify, featuring the school song and fight song. Or create your own playlist to get pumped up with songs like “We Are the Champions” by Queen or “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” by Panic! at the Disco.