Hamilton College Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Anna

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Anna

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Sarah

There are so many different popular groups on campus. Sports are very popular, as many people like to play varsity, club, and/or intramural sports here. Music is also very popular on campus--we have a bunch of performance groups and a great a cappella scene. No matter your interest, you can definitely find a group and meet a bunch of like-minded people.

Maggie

I wouldn't say there are any "most popular" student activities on campus. At Hamilton we have over 100 different student groups to be a part of--anything from student publications, to student government, to music groups, to community service organizations (I could go on for a while!). Students tend to be involved in a variety of different clubs all across the board. It's not uncommon to find someone who plays lacrosse but is also a member of the jazz ensemble.

Katrina

The outdoors club is very popular. Our close proximity to the Adirondack Mountains draws people who love to participate in outdoor activities. The glen (wilderness area with trails) on campus provides outdoor recreation. Parties are big here. As a freshman, the all-campus parties were the place to go, but as you get older, your friends start having parties in their dorm rooms and suites. There are some places to party off-campus, but they're a little sketchy. Hamilton draws some good speakers, including but not limited to the Great Names series we have (almost) every year. Go to hear speakers; it's a shame to waste that resource.

Kendall

About half of Hamilton's students do Greek like, but the best thing about it is that there are no fraternity houses, so it's much more non-exclusive than Greek life at most other schools. There are also numerous concerts and Late Nite events for the non drinking crowd.

Alexander

There is a great amount of clubs, organizations, etc. available at Hamilton. If something does not exist that you would like to start, go for it! So long as you have like three people willing to commit to it, then you have got yourself a club. It gets tricky when it's just two members.. then let's be real, it's just you and a friend with a common interest.

Anna

greek life is a joke. for the most part it isn't nationally recognized and because there isn't pan hellenic for the sororities, hazing can be brutal for some. several parties are held on-campus in social spaces. usually everyone can go and everyone can drink. people who are under 21 "sign in" saying they can't drink and then walk to the table and get a beer. there is a weird policy that bans hard alcohol, so social spaces never serve it, but it is still popular on campus the diner is the place to be at 2am on a weekend if you don't want to drink, there are "late nite" activities that receive funding from the schools to go places, do things, get food, etc. those who don't drink are not alone. supposedly 1/3 of students don't, but i'm pretty sure it's closer to 1/6. there isn't much to do off campus because clinton is in the middle of no where. there is a mall and movie theatre in driving distance, but after that there isnt much. plenty to do on campus though

Benjamin

The largest organization at Hamilton is HAVOC, the community service group, which is really active in the surrounding community. Another big one is HOC, the outing club, which organizes trips of all kinds into the natural surrounding beauty of the Adirondacks. Beyond big ones like these, there are a lot of other options. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that there are over a hundred active clubs. The great part about this is that they're all open to everyone, and their events are as well. People are generally very friendly about sharing their interests with others, and are always willing (and often excited) to get someone else involved. Because of this, and because of the ease with which someone can found and maintain a club, students do a great job of filling the social calendar throughout the week and on weekends with activities that'll appeal to a number of different people. The college also makes a huge effort to bring activities to campus. One big one is the great name speaker series, which has brought such people as Jon Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Al Gore, Colin Powell, and Bill Cosby. But throughout the year many smaller speakers, comedians, and musical performances come to Hamilton. There are also a number of prominent alumnae who come back to speak, visit, and give advice. Thomas Tull is a big one as one of the founders of Legendary Pictures (Batman Begins: The Dark Knight, 300, Watchmen, The Hangover). Again, people's interests are so diverse the college tries to bring something for everyone, from Taiko drum exhibitions to political speakers to poetry readings to comedy central comedians to various parties.

Elizabeth

I am not a huge fan of the Greek system here. Were too small of a college to really have use for the closer social network that I think they bring to bigger universities. With no housing and no nationally affiliated sororities it sometimes seems very silly. Spring time is monopolized by pledging and because our social scene depends on the Greek life for parties it can be pretty quiet. Alcohol use is very prevalent here. That said, were quite a 'work-hard , play-hard' school. Even if people are out drinking during weeknights they are still making 9am classes the next morning. It's unspoken culture that if your drinking begins to hinder your academics then you probably need to re-prioritize... we just hope you can figure out how to finish your paper in time to go downtown for dollar drafts on Tuesday night. However, you do not have to drink and there are plenty of things to do on campus that do not involve alcohol. I commend the college for its efforts to bring other alternatives to campus. Also, there is no drinking and driving. We have a jitney that runs students downtown and a no tolerance policy for that kind of behavior.

Blake

The typical student is extremely busy. The College issues everyone a daily planner with hour-by-hour slots, and most people use them. A wide variety of activities is absolutely the norm, and it's fair to say a work-hard/play-hard mentality continues to prevail. If you're awake at 2AM on a Tuesday, it's to do homework. If it's on a Saturday, it's not. Both events are likely in a given week. Fraternities and sororities have a definite presence on campus, and given their status as among the oldest in the nation, they won't be going anywhere soon. At the same time, they no longer have housing, and the social environment they foster tends to be inclusive and well-appreciated by the vast majority of students.

Leighton

The Hamilton campus is isolated but the College goes to great lengths to bring entertainment to us. Every weekend there is something to do: comedians, concerts, movies, frat parties. Athletic events can also be fun. Our football team sucks but people still like to go. Our basketball teams - mens and womens - are both good and watching Hamilton kick ass on the hardwood is great fun. There are regular guest speakers that visit campus. Once every year, the College gets a big name speaker. Al Gore, Tom Brokaw, Aretha Franklin, Bill Clinton, they've all come to Hamilton. Aretha didn't speak, she sang. And she rocked the place.

Alex

I've been studying abroad this year but I did hear that recently there was some racist vandalism on campus. I was shocked, however, by this news. It's true that sometimes cliques form in the dining hall (usually based on sports, ie the basketball players are friends, vs. Lacrosse guys) but usually friendships and social connections extend beyond those cliques. Everybody knows everybody. For example, The Brothers Organization is very popular and is comprised of the African American or African students on campus. They organize campus-wide events that are widely attended, no matter one's skin color. The Fraternities and Sororities are pretty low key. For starters, there is no frat/sorority housing. So automatically Greek life has less of an impact than at other schools. I'm a rising senior and I couldn't even name off which Fraternities/Sororities exist on campus besides the different ones a handful of friends are in. Hamilton is a very safe campus, everybody leaves theirs doors unlocked, windows open. It's also rather isolated, people stay on campus all the time, even if they have cars. Sporting events are popular, there always seems to be a campus-wide party every weekend hosted by a different team or group but open to everyone. The dating scene seems difficult in that everyone knows everyone, and word travels fast. So it seems that if people date, it becomes a long term relationship. You're guaranteed to see that person day in and day out. A common weekend night usually starts out with an athletic event. Afterwards people head to a campus party to dance. Then people wander in groups to various dorm parties. By 3AM people crowd the campus diner for late-night greasy goodies.

Jesse

Drinking. The coke scene has gotten really big lately. There's nothing to do if you don't drink because there's nothing to do off campus.

Kaitlin

The rugby teams are definitely the most popular and supported teams, probably from their wide range of players. Many students in the same organizations/teams choose housing near one another and spend time in the dorms hanging out and playing drinking games. The dating scene is mostly just people hooking up, but the younger classes seem to be more keen on dating. I met my closest friends playing rugby, in my freshman year dorm, and in my chemistry classes. At 2am I am either in the science building finishing my work, or in my common room drinking a beer watching TV with my suitemates/closest guy friends. Most Saturday nights involve drinking, but if we have a game the next day or choose not to drink we go to the movies or spend a night in catching up on work. For students that do not drink, it is a more limited social scene but there are substance free houses where students hang out....I have never been to one.

Alex

buffers is the best group on campus. join it.

Ashlyn

Popular clubs and organizations are the club sports (especially rugby) and Campus Activity Board (CAB, they organize concerts and other things). In terms of Greek life, I would say that it is not crucial. I am in a sorority, but I have friends outside of the fraternities. They always tell me that they never feel left out or out-of-place at campus parties thrown by the fraternities and sororities. Students will leave their dorm doors open in more social dorms, but in substance-free dorms I think students are more likely to keep their doors shut.

Blake

Rugby is a big sport. So is Hockey and Lacrosse. Everyone does something, but you're not pressured to be involved with everything. The dating scene is nonexistant. You're either very much together or just hooking up. There's no where to go on a date, and everyone knows each other (small campus) so it's not like you can wait three days and then call someone back after a good night with them. However, the "very much together" relationships tend to be very stable and normal. Couples in relationships tend to also be best friends-- that comes from predominantly co-ed dorms. Nothing's a mystery. Because it's a small campus, you have freinds everywhere. Frats/Sororities tend to throw the big parties in campus buildings designated specifically for parties (no frat houses on campus), but you get the feeling that they're throwing the party for the school, not for themselves. One weekend you can spend watching a marathon of Lord of the Rings and the next you're at a rave. It's a very fun campus in that way. Fun fact: We have a streaking team.

Mallory

There's a club for EVERYONE, and it's so easy to join them! Dorms are either cozy and friendly or huge and university-like, and your dorm experience really depends on where you live. Free live events are really popular and really get a lot of people together. The dating scene is sort of small- the hook-up scene is much larger. People generally go out on the weekend and drink, but there are non-alcohol events too. The frat/sorority scene is present but not too many people join. They throw great parties and are well-liked, though. There's not a lot to do off campus.

Cindy

There are a whole lot of different groups to join in Hamilton. Athletic events are, for the most part, popular and we tend to have wonderful, famous guest speakers to come to Hamilton. On a Saturday night that does not involve drinking, one can either study or do something, like shop, off campus.

Sarah

We have all types of organizations: political, social, and religious groups tend to dominate. I am involved with the Debate team, and it is very exciting. Students almost always leave their doors open, and all of my floormates are some of my closest friends. Events on campus are very popular. People go to sporting events, concerts, or comedians. There are always substance free alternatives during the week and on the weekends. I met my closest friends on my pre orientation trip and in my dorm or my classes. If I am awake at 2am on a Tuesday night, I might be studying in the science center or in my dorm. People party during the weekend, but it is not uncommon for people not to drink. Fraternities and sororities are not dominant, but they exist. They throw a lot of parties where everyone can come hang out. The parties on campus are open to everyone, so no one is excluded. Off campus you can go to the mall or the movies.

Sasha

It is almost impossible not to get involved in something on campus. The expanse of clubs, sports, volunteer options, activities, committees, etc. is seemingly endless.

Katherine

There are lots of speakers to attend, lots of concerts to go to, some good plays to say, and generally at least one bumping all-campus party every weekend, usually two. Greek life is kind of downplayed here--I see them merely as organizations that hold parties. None of my friends are in a frat or sorority and I don't think I'm missing out on anything by not being in one. Drinking is commonplace but I don't think it's essential. No one thinks too much of it if you don't have anything to drink at a party. For example, on a Friday I can do a power hour (which amounts to six drinks in an hour), go out to The Little Pub and have another pint, and then take a loud rowdy Glen Walk with my friends. The next night we can walk into town, keep it low-key (just one or two drinks), walk back up the hill, check out a birthday party and maybe have a glass of wine. Both are great fun, and both have vastly different attitudes towards alcohol consumption. FebFest--the annual winter carnival--can be kind of dorky but sometimes it's a lot of fun, like the Chocolate Tasting or the Pizza Wars (all the pizza you can eat! for free!). Class and Charter Day is simply epic. And Senior Week is all about college-sponsored boozing. Thanks, Joanie! But the majority of my social life is spent strictly with my friends. I don't like to go to parties alone, because encountering random strangers isn't something I think is fun at all.

Ryan

Weekly parties, the pub and alot of campus sponsored activities. Does not necessitate drinking as many may assume.

Lily

The fraternities and sororities on campus are popular for throwing good parties and hosting philanthropic fundraisers. I am pledging currently for a sorority on campus and it has been a lot of fun. The dating scene at Hamilton is pretty nonexistent as from what I can tell; it consists of hooking up or "attached-at-the-hip" relationships, but no traditional dating! At 2AM on a Tuesday, if I'm awake I'm probably studying or watching TV haha. People party a good amount here, starting from Thursday or Wednesday till Sunday, but that is always balanced out by class work.

Zach

Most of the students at Hamilton play some kind of sport, whether it's varsity, club, or intramural. There's always something social to do on campus, which is good since there isn't much to do in Clinton and it isn't always easy to get into New Hartford or Utica to do things.

Alexandra

There are a million great things that people do and a million clubs, sports organizations. It is really great. You can pretty much do whatever you want.

Cassie

I met my closest friends from my Adirondack Adventure trip during pre-orientation and in the dorms my freshman year. It's really easy to meet people though, as long as you put yourself out there in extracurricular activities. Most students leave their doors open so when you're walking by you stop in and say hello. Overall, students stay up really late on campus, which is why Cape Opus is open late for caffeine fixes. It's common to see people watching TV shows or movies until early in the morning or pulling all-nighters in the Science Center. People party two or three nights a week usually. Fraternities and sororities have a presence on campus because a third of the student body is involved with one. They don't have a great reputation, but I think we have the best of both worlds at Hamilton because we have them for people who are interested, but they are not isolated in their own dorms on campus. If you don't want to go Greek, you don't have to. When I was looking at colleges, I specifically sought on campuses without Greek life, but ended up falling in love with a sorority at Hamilton and joining anyways!

Tiffany

There is alot to do on campus

Ali

Most of the social life revolves around greek life and partying. However, there are always more options to choose from for those students who dont want to be in a party atmosphere around drinking.

Meg

Greek life is not as prevalent on hamilton's campus as, say a big state school, because they dont have houses. I am in choir, its like a sports team i hang out with them party with them, all of that. my closest friends live mostly in my dorm, also from choir, also i just befriend everyone i meet. if im awake at 2am on tuesday im doing homework, no doubt..or just talking to poeple. people party, but its college, people party everywhere. there is tons of stuff to do without drinking, dance, comedians, accoustic coffee houses, speakers, tons of stuff. sporting events, theater, speakers, its all popular, students are really supportive of each other. off campus there are bars and stuff, but people pretty much stay on campus.

Katya

I love music- and orchestra was a worthwhile experience to an extent, but it began losing its appeal when I saw my friends graduate and realized the lack of cohesiveness. Choir is a much more fun atmosphere (the go on tour together, do the musical) and so I chose to join for my last semester. It is a much better social experience, but I could not have survived college without being able to play instruments either. Dating is either very exclusive, or non-existent. This is definitely a hook-up school; I want a boyfriend and it seems like all guys here are not interested in that, or they already have been dating someone for ages. A lot of weekend social life does revolve around alcohol, but I do know people that don't drink and it really doesn't matter. The pressure to drink isn't coming from other people.

Ashley

Although Hamilton tour guides dismiss frats and sororities, they are somewhat prevalent on campus. There is not a lot of pressure to join, but they do make their presence known. IM sports are very popular here, and the attendance is pretty good. Depending on the guest speaker, attendance is very good. Students do leave their doors open in their dorms. As my psych professor observed there are three basic relationships at Hamilton: Hook-ups, slow and steady, and glued to the hip. I met my closest friends during AA and the first week of classes freshman year. However, I did not meet my boyfriend until the fall of my junior year. I do go to a lot of parties, but I also participate in movie nights on the weekend with my friends who do not like parties.

Robin

All activities on campus but plenty of them, a few all campus parties every weekend day and smaller ones as well. a bunch of traditional annual events, no greek houses but plenty of people in them and they host the parties

Jennifer

football team, basketball team, hockey team, fraternities, sororities.

Mary

The most popular groups are Greek societies and sports teams. I am involved with the greek society Kappa Sigma Alpha. Students leave their doors open pretty often, most students are friendly and open to meeting others. Athletic events are very popular, guest speakers can be popular, and theater can also be popular. At Hamilton there is not much of a dating scene. Students hook up on weekends and that is about it. I met my closest friends through my dorm, my classes, and KSA. Hamilton has many traditional events that are well attended and respected by the Hamilton community. For example, Feb Fest is a week in February with lots of different events each day, such as pizza tasting, sledding, snowmen contests, and concerts.

Marie

Really depends on where, whom you live around and what kind of person you are.

Mandy

Greek Life is a great thing for social events and parties, but definately doesn't take over the campus. Plenty of people aren't in a greek organization and they are known and active on campus.

Sarah

There is a lot of drinking on campus. A lot of students attend sporting events.

Catie

I think it's good that Hamilton's Greek organizations do not have housing, and I think they should be phased out entirely. Parties are open anyway, and the presence of Greek organizations encourages students to settle into a group of friends instead of being open to new ones. That said, there is a place for everyone on a Friday or Saturday night. I have never encountered anyone who would judge another person for their decision to drink or not. As I stated before, Hamilton does a good job bringing in outside entertainment as evening activities. I look forward to Acoustic Coffeehouses and comedians.

Brett

Work Hard, party hard lots of alcohol, pot, but SO SO SO SO much else to do! mostly a hook up culture, greek not super important, mostly hold parties

Hunter

Anything you want we got it or you can start it (for example, I started the 4 Square club) and have it funded by the school. We do have greeks, they dont have houses, they are not as relevant as their members think they are. I think they only still exist to appease the rich old alums who were members years ago.

Chantal

People, at least the ones I know and spend time with, party/go out 2 to 3 times per week. The dating scene is pretty much a lack thereof--the majority of 'dating' is based on hooking-up (which really does pose a problem, in my opinion). If i am awake late on a weeknight i am either doing work for my classes or watching a movie with my roommates.

Tate

The night life here is better than any campus I've been to otherwise, cause you can drink where ever you want.

Madison

Hamilton's social life is greek in many ways, but it is not as greek as people think it is in actuality. There are lots of things to do if you are not in greek life and no greek events are closed. Greek life seems important freshman year but in actuality is not really that big of a deal and by the end there is a lot of bridging between social groups. You just need to take the initiative to meet people. People party hard 2-3 nights a week and rarely any more than that. The issue with the drinking culture is not that there is a drinking culture but instead that it is a culture of binge drinking. Often students go have just one drink and then go to a movie or then go to another concert or event. They drink, yet in a different way. If I am up late on a week night I am working. Working is a huge part of the weekday lifestyle for students and it occupies the vast majority of students time.

Jack

Last weekend, Aretha Franklin visited campus and preformed as part of the "Great Name Series." Even my grandma was excited to come all the way to the hill and watch the queen of soul.

Laura

People drink a lot, but you don't have to drink to have a good time. There are a ton of activities brought to campus by the school and all the organizations.

Regina

Students leave their doors open all the time, and many leave them unlocked as well. It's a pretty trusting community, although I would never leave my door unlocked. There is some, like anywhere theivery, but it's pretty rare. I met my closest freind through the HEOP program's 5 week summer intensive, and most of my other friends through the dorm I lived in my freshman year. There are always parties going on somewhere, especially Bundy, Milbank, Dunham, and South. Many students participate in "Thirsty Thursday" which is pretty much drinking in the middle of the week because you can. A fewer number of people do "Wasted Wednesday." There isn't a hell of a lot to do off campus since Hamilton is in a nowhere town, but if you have a good group of friends you make due.

Cindy

Students in dorms don't usually leave their doors open..mostly unlocked. Dating scene..ha! Well, there are lots of random hook ups that people always talk about, but barely do you see any couples holding hands around campus. People party Thursday nights, but moost of the time people party Friday and saturday nights every weekend. The frats and sororities are important around here, mostly for those part of them. I partied last weekend and did some work on sunday. On a saturday night, you can't really do much that wouldn't involve drinking..you could go party hopping and just dance and have fun, but otherwise, the majority of students here do nothing but drink while partying during the weekends since theres nothing else for us to do here on campus..parties are fun tho lolz. I dont do much off campus..just take the jitney to go shopping.

Mary

As a member of HAVOC, I would say that community service matters at Hamilton, but there are those who would argue. Hamilton has an incredibly strong Outing Club and is constantly sending kids out to the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. A new club, concerned with global public health has recently gained a lot of popularity. As a first year I had no problem making friends. Everyone in my building kept their door open and my best friends are the people I lived with. The party scene is really interesting because we have frats/sorieties but they don't have houses so the school allows them to throw all-campus parties in public spaces. Since we are rather isolated in upstate New York the school has a very liberal drinking policy and it is difficult to get in trouble for underage drinking. A significant portion of the student body drinks, but there are also a lot of people who don't. You won't have a hard time finding something else to do. The school is working to promote its "late nite" program which are alcohol-free events that go from 10-2AM on Fridays and Saturdays. These events are anything from a Mario Kart tournament to soriees thrown by the ballroom dancing club. There are always, always, always interesting speakers presenting on every topic under the sun and live music comes to campus often. Off-campus has some great restaurants and a pretty decent mall.

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