From garage-band concerts at SMOG, a student-run music venue that was in fact a garage, to language tables, where students share meals and practice Italian, French, German, Japanese, or Hebrew conversation, many activities enrich life on and off campus. Student-generated activities have led to recognition beyond campus: the Root Cellar, a space with a coffeehouse vibe, has been cited for its impressive collection of zines. The Chimeng Quartet, formed by four students at The Bard College Conservatory of Music, received the Senior String Division Silver Medal in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Bard encourages all students to be active citizens and give back to the community—in the Hudson Valley and beyond. The Center for Civic Engagement provides numerous opportunities for students to get involved, including the Trustee Leader Scholar Program (TLS). TLS students propose, design, and implement civic engagement projects based on their own passionate interests. The Center for Civic Engagement also assists students in organizing campus projects, and finding internships and fellowships in the public interest. Student initiatives receive support through Bard Launch, the College's microphilanthropy platform.
All Bard students belong to the Bard College Student Association, a democratic forum that raises issues and takes or recommends action by the College; provides student representation on administrative and faculty committees; and administers funds for student-run organizations.
Opportunities to serve include the Student Judiciary Committee, which enforces and protects the rights of all Bard students; Student Life Committee, which coordinates with the Dean of Student Affairs and Engagement staff, security personnel, and the food service provider to improve student services and residential life; Educational Policies Committee, which acts as liaison between students and faculty on academic issues; and Planning Committee, which allocates funds to student organizations. Students are represented at Board of Trustees and Board of Governors meetings.
Students choose from nearly one hundred active clubs on campus, ranging in subject from astronomy to tango. Any student can start a club, including first-year students, and new clubs begin every semester. Bard does not have a Greek system; there are no fraternities or sororities on campus.