Because Barnard and Columbia share most things (this really is not as confusing as everyone makes it out to be) there are a lot of clubs to choose from. There is everything from culture clubs to an S&M club (I'm so not even kidding). There are also a lot of different community service groups. The two that I'm most involved in are Peer Health Exchange and CU Medical Brigades. PHE is an organization that teaches health education to urban high schools without a health edcuation program, and CU medical brigades organizes a trip to Honduras to help run a local clinic for a week (different colleges across the country rotate in and out of the make shift clinic, so its not as though it just falls apart when we leave). There are guest speakers all the time, you'll get enough fliers to make you crazy. As I mentioned previously, its not as though there's a surplus of boys on campus, but thats not to say they're impossible to find. Just dont expect them to show up at your dorm, you have to make a bit of an effort if you want to meet anyone. Making friends is relatively easy. Most of your friends will be people on your hall. I met almost all of my closest friends simply because I lived near them, but I also met a lot of the people I'm friends with now sort of randomly. There are generally a few parties going on every weekend. I personally find going out and drinking for the sake of drinking to be impossibly boring, so I'm always on the lookout for something more dance-oriented (like any college, alcohol is easy to find, but you'll need a fake if you want anything thats a grade above cat urine). Frats and sororities are kind of prevalent, but unless you're in one, you dont really hear about them at all. They arent a super big deal on campus (you're better off at a place like UVM if thats what you're after). There are about a million movie theaters, as well as museums and broadway shows (Which barnard gives you discounted tickets for, and the seats are sometimes actually really really good). Campus traditions: - midnight breakfast: see previous explanation - orgo night: also the night before exams start, the columbia marching band comes to the quad at 12am and plays music for an hour, and then everyone throws all their notes and papers from the semester out of their windows. it sounds stupid but its the best night of the semester, even if you have an exam at 9 the next morning (speaking from experience) - the big sub: or some witty name involving "sub", I forget what exactly. Basically, a 700 foot sub sandwich is set up on campus, and then starting at 7 we get to eat it. As this is a campus filled with hormonal women, the sub is typically consumed within 10 minutes. - take back the night: a protest to end sexual violence. its a good experience, but also kind of intense - certain dances are held by clubs every year, as well as a number of cultural events and shows and whatnot
The Spec (the Columbia newspaper) is a HUGE deal. People who work for the spec are extremely intense. The paper is taken very seriously, but we produce a professional daily paper. It's very impressive. Orchesis is the biggest dance group on campus. We put on a show each semester. The show is completely student-run, student-choreographed and obviously student-danced. The show ranges in variety of styles, although more often than not the range is limited to a lot of modern and lyrical. You audition each semester and the commitment can be as large or small as you want, depending on how many pieces you are in. Casting can often be political, but once you edge your way in it is a fantastic experience. The a capella scene is very competitive, but rightfully so. Athletic events are not a big deal. Everyone goes to homecoming in the Fall and Midnight Madness. But really, you are much more likely to have a big turnout at the latest CU Bhangra show or musical production than at a game. Guest speakers, especially when they are high profile, are well-received and frequently on campus. The dating scene is fantastic. There is SO much to do in New York that there are so many different venues to meet people, or to go out with people you meet at school. If I'm awake at 2 am on a Tuesday I'm studying. If I'm awake at 2 am on a Thursday I'm either at the bars or a party. People usually party Thursday-Saturday nights. At least that's when the party scene is most active. There are people who go out on weeknights, but I don't know many of them. Barnard is by no means a party school. We have our fun, but when we do, we go all out in a few nights rather than dragging it along a whole week of same old same old. Fraternities and sororities are not that big a deal. We live in the city!! There is so much to do besides that. Of course, if you want that it is there for the taking, but it is my no means necessary in order to have a social life. I LOVE going to shows. Student rush is the most amazing thing ever! I get to go to Broadway for 25 bucks. It's an awesome evening out and barely costs me. I go off campus a lot. Sometimes I babysit or bartend. I go to Bikram yoga on 72nd street at least once a week. I go to shows whenever I can. I love to visit museums or go running in the park. And when I'm feeling adventurous, I journey down to the village.
There are so many organizations on campus, and they are all very popular. Obviously the big ones are the racial/ethnic groups, but dance groups are huge as well. Orchesis, the one I am involved with, is campus' largest dance group and we put on a show every semester. Its student choreographed, produced and run, and is really fun. We do modern, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, tap...whatever the choreographer wants to do. We accept all levels of dancers, so anyone who is interested can join. I have been a part of orchesis for three years, and was a board member for two years, so it really was a huge part of my college experience. Most of my friends are dancers, since I spend alot of time dancing. But there are other dance groups as well, like Indian dance, hip hop, danceteam, ballroom dance, swing etc. Athletic events are surprisingly popular, considering Columbia's athletics are not very good. But people get excited about games and good out to support the teams, which is nice. These are often followed by parties, usually whether the teams win or lose. Guest speakers are very popular, and tickets usually sell out. Especially if they are controversial. Theater is pretty big too, with the Varsity show being the main theatrical attraction of the year. Literally hundreds of thousands of dollars goes to fund the show, which has been a tradition at Columbia for over a hundred years. There is a good amount of dating...most of my friends though don't date Columbia men, or college guys in general. We use the New York, ny network, which is fabulous because there are sooo many people to meet, but also harder because alot of guys aren't necessarily in for a relationship, so it gets hard sometimes. But dating is fun, definitly, and you can never get bored. Each area of the city has a different type of person, and so you can taste each flavor. In terms of gay and lesbian dating, I don't know the scene personally, but there are endless oppertunities as well, and since the city is so liberal, its one of the best places to be out. Off campus activities are endless...museums, gallery showings, music events/concerts, bars everwhere, clubs, lounges, restaurants, parks etc...its NYC, we have everything!!
There is a lot of parting at Barnard, but you don't have to participate in it if you don't want to. Most parties take place at bars or Columbia dorms as opposed to Barnard dorms. Occasionally there will be a really big loud party, but that's not normally what has happened in my experience. If you don't want to be drinking on any given weekend night, available activities range from movies to theater to opera to guest speakers or other club hosted events, some of which may be parties, other that may be discussions or performances to just wandering around the city with friends. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge when the weather is nice is a popular night time activity. There are endless possibilities because we are in New York City. The fraternity and sorority scene is there, but not in any way the center or focus of social activities. From what I've seen so far, a lot of the girls who joined sororities early in their college careers have isolated themselves from other social groups. I met most of my closest friends during orientation of shortly thereafter. My best friend is my assigned roommate from freshman year.
There are an amazing amount of great lecturers that come to Barnard. I would say every week there is at least some amazing lecture that I go to or wish I could have gone to. Party wise, Barnard is not a place that really accommodates partying. It doesn't condone it but it doesn't really nurture it. As a freshmen the drinking rules like in most New York dorms are strict and they will check your dorm once a semester for alcohol. The RA's will write you up if you are caught drinking in your room or smoking. When you move out of "the quad" after your freshmen year though to more apartment like housing you are free to do as you please pretty much. You can always go to a club (which requires a fake ID- which can be annoying). The bars around the area are somewhat lax about fake ID's. Columbia always has parties going on- but you have to just get out and get to know people. There is greek life at columbia which is definitely NOT the main party scene on campus, but its fun if that is what you are into.
People always, always lock their dorm doors. Athletic events get hardly no recognition. Theater is rather popular. I am not awake at 2 AM on a Tuesday. Before mid-terms there is a "midnight breakfast" served by all of the Deans. Before finals there is a sub sandwich that spans the entire length of the campus (seriously). Barnard girls are not really into partying (at least not on Barnard's campus)--hardly anyone has alchohol or drugs in their dorm. If you want to do that kind of thing, everyone heads to Columbia on a Friday night, etc. Throughout the whole year, only one person got sick in the bathrooms on my floor. Off campus: visit different neighborhoods, Central Park, head down to NYU area/Greenwich Village, Columbus Circle, we get free admission to about 20 different museums (including the Met, MoMA, Guggenheim). Times Square gets very commonplace very quickly!
i mean, hello? we're in one of the best cities in the world. there is something going on every night which often makes it hard to study since the urge to venture out and discover what unforgettable things are just a couple subway stops away is always there. however, it's easy to separate yourself and drown in the academic bubble. there were 5-6 day stretches that i hadn't been on the subway since i was too busy with school work. one big tip: get a fake id. i view it as a pass that allows you to get anywhere in the city. bars, clubs, and some concert halls are off limits unless you have one...& even if it looks pricey, make sure it scans.
social life is integrated with columbia in pretty much every way. Sororities and frats are nice, many people join them, but if you dont there is also plenty to do. The bars in morningside heights are a lot of fun for college students, though many people choose to venture downtown to clubs or to a variety of restaurants in NY. The location in NYC is fabulous, but also expensive. We have some pretty hokey and silly traditions that i find kind of idiotic, like midnight breakfast during finals week, and the big sub which spreads out across campus every semester and everyone eats it.
Not much campus life or parties. Also, the dating scene is great! There are guys in NYC as well as at Columbia's campus. All of the stuff that people say about a Barnard/Columbia girl rivalry is stuff that I've never heard - I've also never had guys assume that I was a ho/desperate because I went to Barnard. As a matter of fact, most of the time people don't really know which school you go to. However, if you don't make the effort, it is extremely easy to sit alone in your room on the weekend as, unlike other colleges, parties are generally smaller and invite only.
SGA is very popular here--many girls go all out and campaign which keeps a close Barnard community with passionate leaders. Barnard babysitting is very popular as well. It gives students a chance to make money and connect with families in NYC--some jobs are very well payng. Also students join clubs that stand for pride of color, religion, sexual orientation and such. THere are also other groups such as yoga and cooking that girls join. There are tons of clubs and everyone has the chance to join and become a part of something.