The christian organizations have a huge amount of members, some of the teams like Crew are also very large. I'm on the girls' frisbee team and I couldn't be happier. I could barely play before I joined but they teach everyone how to throw a disc and now I'm quite good. They are also very social outside practices. In freshmen dorms many people leave their doors open, but it declines with the year. Again, most people do not go to sports events and I've never been to a guest speaker event. The drama school puts on many good theatrical productions or Scotch and Soda (drama club) also shows musicals year-round. Dating? haha, well freshmen year there are a lot of things to go to meet people with the frats having frequent parties to recruit. But after that it's mostly whoever you happen to know and if you're looking for a significant other. I met my boyfriend at a party, but I know a few people who were friends for about a year and then started dating. I'm also happy to know that a lot of my gay friends recently connected with a partner (there are a few gay clubs to go and meet people). I'm very rarely awake at 2am on a Tuesday, but if I were it would be for fun. If I had an early class the next day I'd go to bed around 12, but I'd rarely stay up that late for work (unlike a lot of other students here). Carnival happens in April, it's a lot of fun traditional events like buggy races, booth building and almost constant drinking. Mid-way through the semester and definitely towards the end the parties slow down because almost everyone is too busy with work. I think only about 20% of students join a fraternity/sorority but they're good outlets for members and non-members to meet people. Most weekends I stay in and watch movies, but I'd like to be more active in going to clubs/parties. There are many good restaurants that serve food half-off after 11pm. Again, going to clubs tho is often hard because buses stop running and not a lot of students have cars to get out there.
Starting answering!If you like designing and building the vehicles, driving them, or racing them up hills, you may become one of the many people captivated by Buggy. Drivers and mechanics get up as early as 4am on weekends to work on this unique sport, and its one of the most popular activities on campus. The fraternities create their own Buggy teams, and some of the independent Buggy clubs are so large and active they seem like fraternities themselves. Buggy is a great way to become part of a community, and groups tend to show a lot of team spirit. Improv is another popular activity with 2 clubs on campus. One of these clubs has gotten known by offering a weekly improv class to anyone interested in dropping by and free shows every other week. I made a lot of friends through this group, which tends to hang out and get dinner after meetings. Other numerous student productions include student music groups and the musicals by the student theater group. (Although rumor has it, it’s hard to get a part if you’re not already friends with members of the theater group). The Drama school also performs free student-run productions almost every week, in addition to its larger scale productions. Booth is another CMU tradition. Fraternities, sororities, and individual clubs compete by creating one or two level wooden buildings based on a theme given to them by the judges. Each building must contain a game for the public to play and be educational in some way. The booths are displayed in the end of the year Carnival and have lured many students into all nighters. In addition to on campus activities, it’s not uncommon for students to look off-campus, be it for jobs, volunteering with health care, or kung fu lessons. In general, it’s inconvenient to go downtown, but Shadyside and Bloomfield can offer interesting events like Slam Poetry and shows.
Carnegie Mellon offers a wide variety of activities and organizations for students. Trust me, when you walk into the Activities Fair at the beginning of each semester, you will know there is something for everyone. Academic groups and activities are very popular; these range from The Tartan (our newspaper) to organizations that support probably every engineering and mathematics program. Artistic groups are probably the most popular, and CMU offers a wide assortment of these fun and interactive clubs and groups. Scotch n' Soda (non-major theatre group), Dancer's Symposium, Lunar Gala (fashion show), and various vocal groups are all fantastic student activities, some of them even achieving national recognition. Last, but definitely not least, are social groups and sports groups. Around 20% of the student population participates in Greek life, and a large majority of the population participates in sports (for non-athletic people like myself, fun intramural sports are offered). Cross-country, rowing, tennis, and swimming are some of the most popular on campus. Outside of clubs and organizations, CMU hosts many fantastic events and guest speakers. Just this year, Mark Zuckerburg (CEO of Facebook) chose Carnegie Mellon as one of only three campus to speak to. Outside of school, the social life is also at a great high. The city offers great venues for eating, music, film, and shopping for some fun on the weekend. And if you're looking for the 'classic college experience', there is almost always a party somewhere near campus that all are 'free' to attend (sometimes there is an entrance fee, especially for guys). No matter what your particular interests are, the school offers great opportunities to meet new people and develop great friendships.
I've been fortunate to see student life from a few viewpoints. First, I was a resident in a hall. The dorm was this great old mansion converted into a dorm, and our floor had a very tight family feel to it. We felt safe to leave our doors open when we were there, and most of my close friends were from that first year. I was an RA for my second and third years at CMU, and I got to see student life from a different viewpoint. I didn't realize during my first year how much time people invested to make our first year experience what it was. There are always a lot of dorm events going on, which is great. Floor events include trips to the ballet, the theatre, student productions, sporting events...you name it, we do it. I also joined a sorority in my sophomore year. At this point, most of the girls that I know outside of student life are also Greek. Percentage-wise, Greek life doesn't look big at CMU, but if you look closer, most of the student leaders on campus--student government, student life, volunteering organizations, tour guides, etc.--are Greeks. We're an involved group of people, who have a huge role in Carnival, Booth, and Buggy. Being Greek during Carnival, after putting in sleepless nights for building these things, makes you really appreciate the strong network you have around you. For me, my sorority and the Greek community in general has played a huge defining role in my experience at CMU, but I know lots of people who could care less about it. My roommate was the captian of the crew team and never had any interest in Greek life, and yet we're still great friends. It's all about what YOU want personally and joining an organization for the right reasons.
Popular organizations include athletic teams/clubs, fraternities/sororities and a huge assortment of clubs. Personally most of the clubs didn't do it for me, but many people get very involved. RAs freshman year will tell you to leave your doors open, but most people don't. Sporting events are pretty sparsely attended. Dating...oh boy. There's a saying here that you develop "CMU Goggles" due to the unattractive population, and I have to admit that attractive girls are pretty few and far between. I hear it's the same for guys. Whether you want a relationship or hookup is up to you, and many people who were unlucky dating-wise before (such as myself) will have better odds here. Traditions include the Fence, which groups will take over at night and paint as well as Carnival, which has Buggy races, building booths and about as much partying as the rest of the year combined. As I said previously, socially CMU is lacking. Plenty of people here have no interest in a social life. There's really no parties during the week even at Pitt, but that's just sensible as you should be doing schoolwork then. Fridays are pretty light with some house parties every now and then, and usually 2 frat parties on a Saturday. Although it seems like the school is trying to get rid of Greek life (about 10 frats have been kicked off in the last decade), most of the groups are solid and the vast majority of partying goes on there. There's plenty of stuff to do non-drinking (go to a restaurant, museum, anything in Pittsburgh) but most of the social students drink moderately.
If there's just one word to describe the Carnegie Mellon student activity experience, it'd be involved. Despite a heavy course load, most students find time to get involved in at least one (although usually upwards of 4) student organizations. Greek life encompasses about 20% of our student body on any given year, and those folks are extremely active on campus. Other than that, Scotch n Soda Theatre, a student-run theater company for non-majors, is extremely popular with students that loved drama in high school but aren't majoring in it. There are several campus publications to work on, 5+ a cappella groups, international service organizations, intramural and club sports teams, and so much more. I've been involved in The Oakland Review, our oldest literary journal, as editor-in-chief and poetry editor; a committee member for the Hillel-Jewish University Center; a Highland Ambassador, a student link between Alumni Relations and our current students; and IMPAQT, an ambassadorship program to bridge the gap between our Qatar and Pittsburgh campuses. Every semester, countless speakers and musicians come to campus (often free events)--everyone from the New Pornographers to Chuck Klosterman to Mark Zuckerberg to the president of Rwanda to Guster. There is always something interesting going on, either on or off campus. Pittsburgh is awash with art gallery crawls, concerts, major league sports events, opera, orchestra, museums, and parks.
There really isn't a popular sect, if I had to pick a group it would be the men's basketball team, but they certainly don't own the campus. Athletics events are getting more popular and now you can get a really good crowd at a lot of games. The big thing though is intramural sports. Everybody plays and it is the talk of campus, especially flag football and basketball. People love it. There are lots of great speakers but they are not well-attended. It's not if you're awake at 2AM on a Tuesday, but when you're awake on a Tues. at 2AM and you are STUDYING!!. People party every weekend and it's mostly drinking and hanging out -- frat parties aren't so big these days since the school has really cracked down on them for serving alcohol to minors. If you don't drink, there are free movies, cheap shows and lots of other kids like you too hang out with. I think there are also a lot of kids that don't socialize, don't date etc. They hang out in their rooms doing work or playing computer games, and many of them have never been to a party or kissed a girl. I'm friends with a lot of these people and they are not embarassed about it, it's just who they are.
CMU has so many activities, organizations, and clubs that I could not even list them here -- heck I probably don't even know all of them since the list is so vast. The reason for this is simple -- if you can't find a club/organization you'd like to join, you can create it yourself and then apply for money and what not to the Student Body Government (look an organization). As far as a social life goes, well there is definitely the possibility of one at CMU (although not everyone exercises this choice, which is perfectly fine). Students can be found doing "normal" college activities (whatever those are...) on a Friday/Saturday night to entering video game tournaments, like Guitar Hero or Halo. Students can make more friends by attending school sponsored nightly events, which vary from week to week. As mentioned before, Oakland and Pittsburgh is full of a variety of activities to keep you busy. Sporting events, museum tours, shopping districts, etc. are all in/around Pittsburgh. Basically whatever you want to do is up to you, even if that means skipping all your classes (although I wouldn't recommend it).
I don't do extra-curricualrs because I don't have time. That's pretty common with the arts kids. We just have different schedules. That's also probably why so many of us move off campus. Our schedules are extremely rigorous and we are awake at 7 every day and in the studios until 1 or 2 am so hearing girls screaming about One Tree Hill in the lounge is the last thing we want. The dorm life is very involved if you want it to be...there are always outings and functions. I've never really taken advantage of that. The arts kids throw amazing parties...that's pretty much it. Computer science or engineering kids usually just linger around the frats or play guitar hero in their dorms on the weekends. The frats and sororities are not a big part of campus life at all. The frats are disgusting and awful places to go. If they aren't shooting people with their be-be guns, they're broadcasting the fact they popped some girls' cherry or had a three-some by painting the lions outside their building a different color. The frats on the CMU campus might be the most immature atmosphere I've ever been in.
there are all sorts of organizations on campus, the most well known and active is probably the asian students association. ive met my closest friends by living closely with them in my freshman dorm, or by meeting them at group/organization meetings. ive also made many friends through mutual friends as well. carnival is the most well known tradition at cmu--classes are canceled for two days and its basically just a time to hang out with friends, relax, and party. there are different types of people who party at cmu. some people go out every once and a while on weekends, while some others go out every night. there are also people that never go out to parties. theres a wide range at cmu, and thats one of the things i like most about it. fraternities and sororities are well-known on campus, but they are by no means the most important social aspect of the campus. if you want to party a lot, its likely that youll either join one of these organizations or have many friends who do; but its not necessary to join one in order to meet people.