Baylor is pretty big into Greek life. Even if your not in one of the typical fraternaties/sororities, you have a pretty good chance of ending up in a service fraternity or minority sorority/fraternity. It's just the way most students get involved. That said, we have a pretty big Honors College, and there are a lot of organizations for your area of study. Dorm life - for girls at least - isn't huge. Most of the time, the girls are out elsewhere being social. I honestly didn't know probably 3/4 of the girls on my floor, and if someone's door is open, it's barely cracked in case one of their friends really needs to see them. Athletic events can be pretty big, especially if we happen to be doing well at the moment. Football starts off big and then sort of flags off as we realize that this isn't our year, again. We'll have some things that come through Baylor like speakers and plays and the like, but most of the time it's not a huge deal. Probably our biggest events are the Pigskin Review and All-University Sing (a huge singing, dancing, theatrical production put on by our Greeks--it's one of the biggest deals of the year). Something worth checking out is the Guerilla Troupe comedy shows. It's an improv show and it's actually really funny. Dating is a huge deal at Baylor. When you first get there, it's like a mad dash to find the person you'll be engaged to by the spring of your Junior year (or your tuition money back!) There are a lot of great people there, though, and chanced are good that if you're female, you'll find your life partner if that's what you're looking for. Not everyone is super into dating, though. If you're awake at 2am on a Tuesday, you're probably studying for a huge test you have on Wednesday or hanging out with a significant other, though not in your dorm room since the visiting hours end at ten on weekdays. Every year, we have two pretty big events--Homecoming and Diadeloso. Homecoming include the Pigskin Review, which is the best 8 acts from Sing, the Bonfire, and the tradition of the "Eternal Flame," which actually may be discontinued due to injuries. The premise is that freshman guard a flame and the upperclassmen try to put it out. People can get pretty into it, and this year some people ended up hospitalized. The other big event is Diadeloso, which is a day off from classes in the spring a little bit before finals. Students set up booths by the Science Building or just hang out together. It's a pretty big day for partying, too. Partying at Baylor isn't too big. Unlike a lot of universities, you have the find the parties, the parties don't find you. Thursday is usually a night where students go to a club or have a small get together or just stay in. Fridays and Saturdays usually have the bigger parties, mostly thrown by fraternities, who don't have official frat houses, but use a house where some of their guys live. They can be pretty fun, and it's not a huge deal if you don't drink. There are some that do and some that don't. If you don't want to be around drinking at all, that's fine, too. There are plenty of groups that get together on weekends and have movie nights, go bowling, etc. Off campus, there are plenty of places to eat, there's a lake nearby you can visit, a zoo, a beautiful park, and attractions in Dallas and Austin. It's nice that Waco is close to those big places if you need a little more night life.
Even though the Baylor football team has not done that well in the past few years, the students, facutly, and community support the bears by attendting the games. The other sports are well supported too. Baylor offers many speakers to speak around Baylor, and the theater department is also supported. By living in the dorms on the Baylor campus you will be given the real college experience. I have meet so many people by living in the dorms my freshman year and they are still my friends to this day. I meet the closest friends in chapel and the other friends my freshman year in the dorms, and I also have meet some close friends in some of my classes. There are several traditions that Baylor hosts every year (Homecoming and the parade, DIADELOSO, Welcome Week, Dr. Pepper Hour, All University Sing, and of course Chapel). Student usually try to party every weekend, but off course the Baylor Police have been craking down on drinking and under-age drinking. They have been some awesome and crazy parties that fellow students have thrown, and you can usually find a party by how many cars are parked on the side of the road in the Baylor area (off campus housing). Although Baylor keeps a close eye on fraternities and sororities they do play an important part in Baylor. Last weekend I went to a "Baylor Party", this is what the locals calls parties that Baylor student throw and they are usually good and have tons of drinks (all kinds). There is also activities around campus and off where drinking is not involved and peer pressure is not a factor at parties, you can come to a party and hang out and be w/ friends not have to worry about being pressured to drink. There are several things to do off campus, Waco has two malls, several night clubs (college night) and bars, has two movie theaters, restrauants, fast food. Waco also is in the middle between Dallas and Austin if the Waco scene does not do it for you.
How did I spend my weekend? I spent last Saturday night on the couch watching an Austin Powers marathon. Don't get me wrong, I am not lame...the night also included friends and a lot of beer. And I spent Friday night at a bar with $3 dollar specials on any tequila drink. As far as weekend activities, Waco doesn't have anything like Austin's sixth street but it does have a few pretty awesome bars, pubs, country dance halls, and clubs. (Though I would warn you this is Waco and some places can be suuuuuper ghetto, so make sure you know where you're going) There are always parties every weekend, including frat parties. One of the best places in Waco is Eskimo Hut...a drive through daiquiri place that serves alcoholic drinks in gas station to go cups. If you're not into drinking...Waco has three movie theaters, a couple bowling allies, and a really cool bridge that you're supposed to throw tortillas off of. If you like coffee and acoustic guitar you have to try out common grounds. Baylor campus always has something going on...athletic events, intramurals, a riding association, pick up basketball games in the SLC, a rock climbing wall, a swing dance club, frats, sororities, science clubs, language clubs, math clubs (pretty much a club for anything you're interested in), guest speakers, theater productions and lots of freshmen events.
Here in Texas football is the key to life. Everyone goes to games if not for the game for the fun of being around friends. Baseball and basketball (both boys and girls) are high on the list of fun sports to watch. Often I have found that we leave our front doors to our dorms open and say hi as people walk by. If a door is closed it means one of three things: I'm studying, I'm asleep, or I'm sick. The social aspect of living in dorms is totally worth the 2am runs to Walmart for cereal or the pillow fights in the halls or the airsoft/nerf gun wars. One other plus to dorms is that they separate mens dorms from womens dorms typically by a giant field or a steel wall. It is nice to know that you're safe to walk from your room to the laundry in just pijamas. As for outside of school, drinking really is not an issue, one of the pluses of it being a Christian school. What do we do insted? We have a frisbee golf course in Cameron Park, we have a fairly nice zoo, bowling and movie nights are common. One thing I love is to get a group of friends together, rent out a grill and grill steaks outside. If you want a party to drink at, you can probably find one; but if you don't and want some alternatives we have plenty of those as well (and even friends who will go with you!).
Off campus: eat. Plenty of restaurants, and even the occasional movie. On campus: I'm involved in Alpha Delta Pi, so there's always mixers, crushes, dances, etc. with that. We also do community service together and a lot of sisterhood-bonding activities, which are a ton of fun! But the greek scene on whole isn't a huge deal on campus. Since we're not allowed houses and all of the sororities share one building, I feel like it's a lot more civil and less competetive. Also, less than half of the student body rushes. It's not a huge deal to most people whether or not you're greek, although to some it is. It's just pretty much another club of people who have things in common, enjoy each others' company and plan social events. I know of plenty of people that live in houses of 4 girls, each from a different sorority. Or another in particular, two from one, one from another, and one independent (non-greek) . A person's greek house isn't their defining factor. Baylor: SO many traditions! Dr. Pepper hour with free floats every week, SING, Steppin' Out, Homecoming, Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas on 5th Street, other campus-wide Greek events, the Guarding of the Flame... the list goes on and on! It's awesome. It's a very old university steeped in awesome, age-old traditions.
The most popular student organizations have to be Greek Life. Almost one third of all of Baylor's students are in a greek lettered organization. I am involved in a predominantly African American sorority in the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and I wouldn't trade the relationships I have formed with my sisters for anything. I can say that joining my sorority has been the most fulfilling aspect of my college career, and I would definetely encourage others to research Greek Life and join a sorority that fits them. Students are heavily involved in athletics as well, whether its intermurals or attending games. Both mens and womens basketball has been highly ranked the past few years, and students always back the bears! On a typical Saturday night there is always going to be a party somewhere but there are other activities on and off campus which don't involvue underage drinking. Common Grounds is an extremely popular coffee house which often has live bands, local Baylor talent, or outdoor movies playing. If you attend Baylor, going to Common Grounds is a must. Other unique places in Waco that Baylor students frequent is Katie's Custard, Spice Village, and the Dr. Pepper Museum
Greek is pretty big on campus. There are also a lot of non-Panhellenic fraternities and sororities so that it seems almost everyone gets involved in at least one. Girls dorms, at least, aren't the most happening places. People stick to themselves for the most part and don't interact much with their hall. Athletic events are pretty popular, but they aren't packed that often unless our team is doing well at the moment. Dating is also a pretty big deal at Baylor, there are a lot of couples and there's a joke that if you don't get married before you leave college, you get your money back. Partying isn't a huge scene at Baylor. It's unlike other colleges in that you have to find the parties, the partying doesn't find you. Most of the parties are within Greek circles. If you're not partying on the weekend, you can be going on a road trip to Austin or Dallas, which have good concerts often, you can hear a live band at Common Grounds, the popular coffee place right off-campus, or go to one of the few clubs in town, which usually are most happening on Thursdays unless they've been rented out by a fraternity on a weekend night.
Hands down the most popular student organizations are fraternities and sororities. They put on multiple events per year that a lot of students attend. Partying can be found at Baylor, although it's not as prevalent as it would be at a public school. If partying is something you enjoy doing it can be found but can just as easily be avoided. There are multiple traditions at Baylor, including Dia del Oso (a day of celebration in the spring), Homecoming, Freshman Mass Meeting, and many others. They are good ways to meet people and learn about the history of Baylor. Most of the activities that take place occur on campus or very close to campus. Waco itself isn't a great city but there are a ton of restaurants, a cheap movie theater, and some cool landmarks. All in all the way to be most active socially is by joining a fraternity or sorority.
I'm quite active on the campus. Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity, requires 35 hours of community service a semester, but offer may opportunities, on and off campus. Gamma Beta Phi, a service-based honor society, require 8 hours a semester, which is practically nothing. Magellan Society, a multicultural service organization, doesn't require any set number of hours, but has many social and service activities that focus on the world as a whole. The Canterbury House, the right-off campus Episcopal Student Center, has Eucharist every Wednesday, and bible study on Sundays. Off campus, my friends and I find ourselves at different restaurants or the Suspension Bridge, where we hang around and throw tortillas on to one of the old columns. We may also make a day at Lake Waco or Lake Victoria, or take road trips to Austin or Dallas.
Greek Life is pretty big at Baylor, there are many frats and sororities to join if you are into that. There are also plenty of academic associations to get involved with, which is what I prefer, such as American Medical Student Association, Neuroscience Society, etc. There are also small groups for anything you can think of, such as religious small groups to gaming small groups (my roommate plays WoW and Dungeons and Dragons, he joined a small group for D and D). Playing sports is my favorite thing to do, so I love the intramurals here. There are leagues for Residence Halls as well as for Private Groups (Frats, Culture Groups, etc.) Baylor does a really good job at organizing Intramurals for just about anything possible, from Flag Football to Raquetball to Walleyball (yes, walleyball, as well was Volleyball).