There is always a lot going on around here. There are all kinds of clubs at Barnard and Columbia having all kinds of events all the time. Plus there are school-sponsored events like Midnight Breakfast, not to mention lectures, dance performances, plays, and musicals happening pretty much all the time. There are bars and clubs in the neighborhood, and of course downtown Manhattan is just a half-hour away, so if you're into that it's definitely available. And if you're not, there are plenty of events on campus to keep you busy, and then there's everything else happening in Manhattan. Basically, if you're bored there must be something wrong with you.
While there are a lot of student organizations, the main social environment of Barnard is New York. A lot of student study very hard during the week and then relax on the weekends. There are always events, whether you choose to attend them or not. The greek scene exists, but it really isn't very big. A lot of girls worry about dating when they come to Barnard. Just because it's a women's college doesn't mean we don't meet guys: Columbia is literally right across the street, and New York itself has tons of guys, so don't worry. If you don't like the city, however Barnard might not be the right place for you.
I've made incredible friends here and have had wonderful experiences with extra curriculars, however, I had to put myself out there to make it happen. if a student is shy and doesn't want to put herself out there, it can be a difficult to make friends. The dating scene at Barnard can be pretty difficult, because the girl to guy ratio among the schools is 2:1 and some of the columbia guys can be a little anti-social, high-strung or pretentious. At the same time, it depends on your personality. If you put yourself out there, it's totally possible (I'm dating a wonderful Columbia boy!) to find nice guys.
Typical college institutions, like athletic events and huge frat parties, certainly exist at Barnard, but given our location in New York City, it is more common for students to venture out in the city at all hours of the day and night. And it isn't true that you need loads of money to do anything in the City! There are lots of alternatives for the money-strapped college student. If I'm awake at 2am on Tuesday, I'm probably a.) studying in the huge, Harry Potter-esque Butler libarary, b.) hanging out with friends in someone's room, or c.) at a concert.
-students in dorms do leave their dorms open. -athletic events not too popular since the teams aren't too good. -people party as much as they want. Living in NYC, you can always find something to do, yet students are very studious and Butler (the columbia library) can be a popular hang out spot- that is what you are going to get at an IVY League school. -many of the bars around campus closed down, but NYC is our campus and you can go anywhere easily, any night of the week, any time.
If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday night, I'm definately doing homework. I'm on the Varsity crew team so that means an early wakeup call every morning. However, no athletics stops me on a weekend night. Being that Columbia doesn't really take athletics seriously, neither do the athletes. None of the teams have serious dry seasons like most of the other ivies, so we take advantage of that and most athletes drink up heavily.
Let's put it this way, a lot of Barnard activities are combine with Columbia activities. It's a really great way to unite the two campuses and to just get to know a lot of new people. Campus unity is better at Barnard than at Columbia, but remember this is New York City. As much as Barnard has wonderful traditions like Midnight Breakfast and spirit day, we're a bunch of independent women who like to do our own thing.
One thing that drives me insane about Barnard is that nobody leaves their doors open when they are in their rooms...makes for a very unsocial (and somewhat unfriendly) hall. Athletic events are not popular. Nobody goes to them. Guest speakers probably get a fair showing but it would depend on the speaker and how well it is advertised. Dating scene? Columbia is across the street but good luck.
People in sororities are few. There are a good amount of campus activities like plays and student organization parties and events, but mostly the social life at Barnard is Manhattan. Barnard is very academic as is Columbia, so I find that the social life is lacking. If you want a social life, you have to find it outside the college or work hard to establish one on campus.
Popular organization: McAc- the programming arm of the SGA. I'm involved with Shalhevet the Israeli dance troupe--its a great campus to be a dancer on. frats/sors are kind of a joke. everyone goes to a party the week of orientation and that's about it. while people certainly drink its not over the top...my group of friends rarely drinks on saturday.