10 Irresistible Pi Day Programs that Will Really Hit the Spot

Did you know that pi is an infinitely long number? 

Similarly, there are an infinite number of ways you can celebrate March 14, AKA Pi Day,  on your campus! Mathematicians and anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate this list of programming ideas. 

1. Pie Charts & Time Management

You can cleverly connect pie to time management through pie charts! Have students map out how much time they spend each day or week on different areas of their life, such as studying, eating, working, sleeping, and socializing. 

Once that’s complete, use a values self-assessment so students can compare their personal values with how they are spending their time. Pair this activity with tips and tricks for time management in order to help students devote more energy to areas they value. For example, perhaps you can help a student come up with a plan for exercising more and watching TV less.

a pie chart with different colors showing off the amount of time devoted to sleep, socializing, work, studying, and more


2. Pie & Diversity

Students can learn about diversity through pie charts. 

Give each student a blank pie chart and instruct them to fill it in based on the prompt “if everyone on our campus was represented by a pie, how much pie would be devoted to…?” Then call out different identities you want students to better understand the demographics of at your institution — such as gender, race, physical abilities, or age. 

Next, reveal the actual demographics of your institution and lead a discussion through the following questions:

  • What surprised you about the actual demographics here? Why? 
  • Do the demographics fit with your image of the institution?
  • How do you see these demographics represented across campus? 
  • Using the information you’ve learned today, how can you better support your peers on campus? 

3. Pie as a Metaphor

Set up a virtual tutorial using your favorite video conferencing service to teach students how to bake pie.

Use the opportunity to stress the importance of measuring ingredients correctly. You can then compare that to the importance of following directions for a project, or even how creating an outline for a paper can help with the end result. You can use that pie metaphor in other real-world examples as well, such as researching a company’s mission when preparing for an interview or creating a solid roommate agreement at the beginning of the year to avoid disagreements later. 

4. Build-Your-Own Pizza Pie

gif of a woman saying 'I love pizza' while eating one

Pizza is also a kind of pie! And, arguably, the best part of pizza is the toppings. 

In a build-your-own pizza program, you can use each topping to help spark social conversations between students. This program is an easy, pressure-free way for students to get to know each other. Prepare one question or conversation topic to post at each topping station. For example, at the cheese station, you could post the question “Where do you call home?” Or at the veggie station, you could ask, “What is your favorite way to spend a weekend?”

Here are 100 more icebreaker questions that could work well! 

5. Pie-Eating Contest

This is a tried-and-true classic. Order some pies from your dining hall and let your students battle it out in a pie-eating contest for the ultimate prize of a (pizza) pie gift card!

6. Sweet 16 of Pie Flavors

March is the perfect time to use your social media accounts to have students vote for their favorite pie flavors. You could incentivize sharing the post by offering students the chance to win a full pie of the winning flavor. It would be a clever well to increase your social media following and engagement! Make sure you post the pie winner of each round to keep your students coming back for more. 

7. Pi Jeopardy

Students majoring in STEM fields are often especially excited about Pi Day. So, why not let them show off their skills a bit through friendly competition? Set up a Jeopardy-style game with categories like “All About Pi” and “College Algebra and Beyond.”

gif of Alec Trebek giving a thumbs up to camera while on the Jeopardy set

8. Game Show Marathon 

Don’t stop at Jeopardy! Set up a game-show marathon in one of your large programming spaces. It can be fun for students to play classic game shows catered to their interests. Students who play each game can be entered into a drawing for the ultimate pie reward:  Free slices of pizza or pie each week from your dining hall! Here are some game ideas, along with offices and staff  whom you can partner with to promote and play each program: 

9. Slice of Pie Rewards

Mid-March is the perfect time to encourage your students to cross off items on their campus life to-do lists! Set up a tabling event at a busy location and if students sign up for their fall registration advising appointment or show proof that they’ve already signed up, you can give them a free slice of pie right there. 

This works for any to-do list item. Sign up for return housing? Get a slice of pie. Get their resume reviewed at career services before the upcoming job fair? Get a slice of pie. The possibilities are as endless as, well, the numbers of pi! 

10. Pie in the Face

In my experience, few things get students more excited than the possibility of being able to pie someone in the face. If your student body is trying to reach a collective goal, like a certain number of service hours completed by the end of the semester, maybe one of your coworkers (or yourself!) can volunteer to be “pie-d” by participating students. (For safety, I suggest only using whipped cream or shaving cream in a pie tin instead of a whole pie. The crust can hurt.) 

gif of Andy slowly placing a pie on the side of Jerry's face from Parks and Recreation

Pi Day is a really fun opportunity for creative programming on any campus. Not only does it have an inherent tie-in to pizza  (the best way to solicit attendance for any event) but as a mathematical number, it also has a strong connection to academics. 

These programs and events are the perfect way to collaborate with faculty and get more buy-in from your students. Just don’t forget the pie! 

What Pi Day programs have been successful on your campus before? We’d love to hear your ideas! Connect with us on Twitter @themoderncampus.

Lizzie Barry

About the author: Lizzie Barry (she/her) is the Assistant Director of Residence Life at Augsburg University. She's a big fan of escape rooms, traveling and all things Disney. Learn how we can help get your students involved.