From its very beginning, the University has been not only an educational centre but a centre for the dissemination of culture and progressive ideas in society, where students can express themselves through different cultural and public activities, clubs, and volunteer movements. In the 19th century the first Rector, the physician N.A. Gezehous, founded the City Amateur Symphony Orchestra and was the head of the Tomsk branch of the Russian Musical Society. Another TSU Rector, I.A. Basanov and his wife L.P. Basanova, an artist, established the Amateur Artistic Society in Tomsk. They and others laid a foundation for further cultural development at the University.
TSU Assembly Hall – famous for its perfect acoustics – hosts concerts of classical music. The Concert Hall placed in the Center of Culture is the stage for different performances of TSU theatrical societies, student performances and guest performances.
Today TSU is a renowned centre of culture in Russia and Siberia. The TSU Centre of Culture includes various musical, theater, and literary clubs, a professional choir, and music bands. TSU provides students and Tomsk residents with public spaces for enjoying cultural activities and spending their free time, and helps them be familiar with international cultural trends and events. The University is home to a branch of Rotary Club International and other local student volunteers' clubs actively participating in the life of the city and the University. The International Division supports English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and German student language clubs.
The Academic Choir (founded in 1959) is a musical insignia of TSU and the city of Tomsk and is the winner of various national and international musical contests.
The Chamber Symphony Orchestra (founded in 2002) despite its young age is mature in talent and skills.
The drama and comedy theatre “In University Grove” was founded in 1931, and the Arts and Literature Theatre was founded in 1973.
The big jazz band “TSU-62” was established in 1962.
The Student Pop Theatre of Smile and Laughter was set up in 1967.
CCQW (Club of Cheerful and Quick-Witted) teams “Lieutenant Schmidt’s Children” and “MaximuM” have encouraged TSU students to set up their own KVN comedy teams. Currently, new University teams "Dozhd'" and "Yevgen i Rebyata" participate actively in national KVN contests.
Tomsk State University has up-to-date sports facilities and complexes where both students and academic staff can do sport. They may participate in many athletic activities and become a member of TSU clubs for martial arts, volleyball, basketball, skiing, and other sports.
The TSU Fitness and Wellness Center is a popular spot for students, faculty, and staff. It includes a 25-meter world standard swimming pool, basketball and volleyball courts, training areas for shaping and step-aerobics, a weight room, exercise facilities and a combat room.
TSU competes in 20 sports including swimming, weightlifting, chess, basketball, cross-country skiing and others.
TSU’s diving club SKAT is ranked as one of the top teams in the nation and its members have won world, European and national champion titles.
TSU is also proud of the Masters of Sports, and national and Siberian champions in skiing and orienteering. There are champions of the Russian and international competitions among students, and members of the Russian Olympic team.
TSU holds an annual festive procession in honor of the University’s birthday.
The festival begins with the theatricalized procession of TSU students, alumni, and staff, continues with a concert dance programme "Happy Birthday, Alma Mater” and ends with fireworks.