Mixed nuts is awesome, our amazing co-op! also join our sustainability group to help hampshire go green! students in dorms definity leave there doors open, but not so much in mods. athletic events are not popular. homosexuality is widely accepted and not uncommon.
Hampshire has a lot of people with varied interests, and it is very easy to start a club- 3 students as signers is all you need to get a budget for one year. The most popular groups include the two a cappella groups (a third all-female group has recently started), the two improv troupes, the incredibly talented Hampshire Circus, the Frisbee team (the Red Scare, and our only serious sport, although we have other teams that come and go- all sports are of the informal, anyone-can-join, intramural variety), and groups that organize some of the bigger events on campus- Drag Ball is run by the Queer Community Alliance (which is a pretty active group in general), Deathfest is a huge Dungeons & Dragons-based tournament (most of the characters and rules changed to reflect Hampshire culture) run by Mythos (they also organize weekly Capture the Flag games). There's a campus newspaper, the Climax, and there's a magazine, the Omen (it publishes anything submitted to it, and is thus frequently a point of great controversy). The Dean of Students has a knitting circle that is a Hampshire Institution. Most Hampshire groups, however, are short-lived, but there are always a lot to choose from, and, if no one's doing what you want, you can just grab two friends and start your own. Hampshire housing tends to create a unique community as well- we have two buildings of traditional dorms, and the rest of the housing is in what we call mods- basically 4-10 person apartments, with a shared kitchen and common space. The dorms are mostly single rooms, which means that you are nearly guaranteed a single your first year. Most mods have one double room. Mods are usually filled with close friends, and mod culture and dorm culture are different. Students in the dorms eat in the dining hall and have more chance to see other students. Some students who live in the mods get more insular- rarely leaving their own mod or grouping of mods, and others spend a lot of time in other people's mods and hanging out with friends who aren't modmates. The mods are definitely the site of the most parties, and each of the 3 mod groupings has a different reputation- Prescott is known for hipsters, wild parties, and drugs. Greenwich is usually the home of 2nd and 3rd years, and often the quietest of the mods, although it attracts a wide range of people. Enfield is considered the most desirable housing, and often has mostly Div IIIs, who host a lot of parties early in the year, when their Div IIIs are still in infancy, and and at the very end of the year, when they've finally finished. In between, it's an area that fluctuates- never as wild as Prescott, but usually not as quiet as Greenwich. Each mod can differ greatly based on who is living in it, of course. The dorms are the domain of first and second-years almost exclusively, and the social scene reflects that- the dorms aren't usually the site of many parties, though. Hampshire students have a lot of social options, in spite of the small size of the campus. If you don't want to party, it's not hard to find friends who are similarly more interested in quieter evenings. The Gamer Hall (another Hampshire institution) has at least 3 consoles going at almost any hour of the day or night, keeping its population busy. Hampshire students are inclined to have dinner parties, tea parties, board game nights, or any manner of other amusements. Just like in our academic life, we really have the opportunity to make our social life exactly what we want. There are no fraternities or sororities on campus, and most Hampshire students like it that way. If you crave Greek parties for some reason or another, UMass has a pretty active Greek life- in fact, the 5 College community ensures that if, for some reason, nothing you want to do is going on at Hampshire, you can probably find it at one of the other schools. Hampshire theater is one of the hugest "departments" at Hampshire, and there are always more shows a semester than there is space for- you could see a Hampshire-produced play every week if you wanted. The shows are usually pretty good, and there are also a ton of Hampshire students who are in bands, or do dance performances, or the like, in addition to the incredibly talented performing arts groups of the other colleges. Hampshire has 2 really big events each year- Hampshire Halloween (legend by this point) and Drag Ball. Halloween is the kind of even that actually closes down campus- anyone who isn't a Hampshire student has to be personally invited by a Hampshire student to be there. Every band on campus performs, the circus performs, the belly-dance troupe performs. Every House has events, and the event is known for very prevalent drug and alcohol use, although it is definitely possible to enjoy it without substances. Drag Ball happens in the spring, and is also hugely popular- Hampshire students perform in drag (and we have some very talented drag kings and queens in our student body), almost everyone comes in costume, and proceeds to dance their hearts out while seeing how amazing or ridiculous everyone else they know has managed to look.
I joined the QCA my first year (Queer Community Association) and I ended up not having a lot of time for it. However they seem to be a very active group with a lot to do. They're very supportive and a good group of loving individuals. There are a lot of groups on campus, Amnesty International, Pre-Law group, Japanese Cinema/Manga groups, Knitting Circle, Improv Troupe, a Jewish group I don't remember them all, but there are a ton. Most people leave their doors open and unlocked during the day. They like to socialize and hang out. During the evening when people are around in the dorms and mods (on campus apartments) people will just hangout in each other's rooms and relax. Most people sleep with their doors closed and presumably a lot locked. It is a college campus after all, but it's also a safe campus. We're in rural MA, pretty safe space. There are a lot of sports, but they don't get much attention. We have a spectacular equestrian team, but they have to house their horses in nearby stables or at Mt. Holyoke. Our ultimate frisbee team (the Red Scare) does very well and is quite competitive. We also have men and women's basketball and soccer (they're not terribly competitive however). There are a lot of parties. It's pretty easy to find a party almost every weekend, but none of them are MASSIVE and get out of hand. It's easy enough to call Public Safety if they're too disruptive after quiet hours or seem dangerous (which rarely happens). We don't have frats or sororities. People can live together in the on campus apartments which are gained through a lottery system (for every semester attended you receive one lottery point which you pool together with friends to get a mod!).
The most popular groups... hmm... probably the twice yearly 5 college wide Dungeons and Dragons tournaments are the biggest draws in terms of raw numbers. There are tons of groups and clubs on campus and it's really easy to start any sort of club you would want to, even if you just want an excuse for the school to buy you and your friends a pizza every week. Athletic events are not a big deal on campus, though friends always go to watch each other play. I joined an a cappella group this year. We started UltraSounds, an all-girl group, this year after a large group of us didn't make it into the other two a cappella groups on campus. It's been great fun and we ended up sounding very good, if I do say so myself. Guest speakers get big crowds, though it depends on the topic. The ongoing lecture series on God and science gets great crowds for every speaker. Dorm life depends greatly on where you live, even down to which floor you're on. I was on the sub-free floor last year and it was wonderful! No noise, and while no one left their door open, why would I care? I just went off to my friends' dorm rooms. On the floor above me, however, all the students got to be (the rest of us thought) weirdly close. They had a very strong hall identity and were in and out of each other's rooms all the time. I met my closest friends in the dining hall in those first few weeks of frantic friend-making at the beginning of the year. There are no frats or sororities on campus. Parties abound, but no hazing. Best of all worlds.
Political groups are very popular at Hampshire. Some groups: Students for a Free Tibet, Students for Justice in Palestine, Civil Liberties and Public Policy (mostly focused on reproductive freedom), a chapter of Amnesty International, Building Awareness Across Bars (focused on civil liberties of those incarcerated), the Feminist United Collective, and the Union of Progressive Zionists. We also have the less intellectually intense groups: Hampshire College Climber's Coalition, the Connoisseurs Club (meet and eat fabulous things), Hampshire College Red Scare (communist frisbee team), Spinsters Unite (spinning/yarn club), and The Society for the Creative Realization of a Weirder You (SCREWY...who knows...). There are no frats or sororities, but parties happen all the same. I would say there is probably a good dance party once a month, and people host everything from soirées to beruit tournaments. There are a lot of drugs, a lot of drinking...but these things can be avoided if you so choose. Also, there is a lot of sex.
Hampshire has really amazing traditions. One of them, that I think Hampshire is most famous for, is Hampshire Halloween. I'm not the hugest fan, but most people seem to have a good time. People come up with the craziest, most original costumes, and if you're going to head out, it's best that you follow suit. Another great Hampshire tradition is Drag Ball. It's really a huge, sweaty dance party where everyone dresses in drag (and tries to get laid). There are performances and a DJ, and it takes place in our dining commons. My favorite tradition is Spring Jam, which takes place a weekend or so after Drag Ball, in the Spring. There are blow up activies (obstacle course, moon bounce, sumo wrestling, jousting...), free sno-cones and cotton candy, and great live music that goes until really late at night. As long as it's sunny out, it's a guarenteed great time.
People are generally friendly and most living areas are open-door: go in, introduce yourself, borrow a cup of sugar, etc. Party scene is decent if you like blow-out dance parties, otherwise there are all kinds of other things to do like flims, music, circus performances, bike-fixing-BBQs, stand-up comedy, etc. It gets clique-ey especially along identity/political lines but there's cross-over if you look for it. If you can't find it you can make a student group about it and other people will just find you. I'd say most people can't remember how they met their closest friends; you all kind of end up together and feel like family pretty quickly. Div III's tend to hole up in their rooms/labs/studios/etc. and a lot of people stick with their core group of friends from their first year but almost everyone makes a lot of friends along class lines.
There are a ton of on-campus activities and clubs, all the time. We've got everything from a cappella groups to a barbecue club to a horror and special effects club to a hip hop collective to our own circus troop. There are no fraternities or sororities, and I think everyone's pretty happy with that. There's so much going on every weekend that it's often pretty hard to decide what activities to do. I have not found it challenging to do things on Saturday night that do no involve drinking. For example, Saturday nights are the official movie-screening time of the club Excalibur, a sci-fi/fantasy club that's been around for over 10 years. They show movies like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" or "War Games", and episodes of various TV series like "Doctor Who" and "Firefly". And there are often snacks involved.
Huge parties are not very common at Hampshire. Most parties will be no bigger then 20 or so people in an apartment drinking beers and smoking pot, sometimes dancing or playing beer pong. The occasional big party does happen though, usually with a live student band or blasting techno. These parties get very crowded, usually do not supply booze and usually center around dancing. Hampshire halloween is the biggest event of the year. Also known as "trip-or-treat" many of the students dress up and take hallucinogens or just get flat wasted. Another tradition is easter keg hunt, when fourth year students buy kegs and hide them in the forrest, and on easter morning all the students go out with cups looking for them. Everyone ends up wasted by noon. The music scene at Hampshire is OK, but nothing special.