There are few clubs at Harvey Mudd with regular meetings. Most use school funding to provide things (tools, games, baking goods, unicycles) to their members. Their are no fraternities or sororities either. Athletics are arranged through a three-college joint team. Mudders don't attend games unless they have a friend playing. Most of our social lives revolve around our dorms. There is a very serious survey that freshman take that is reviewed by a committee of students to decide where they live. People mostly meet their friends through classes, but it is a small enough campus that you manage to meet most people. The dorms all have their own social events and personalities. Most people leave their doors open, so you can just walk in and socialize. The party scene at Mudd is unusual. Alcohol is allowed on campus for everyone to consume. About half the students regularly attend parties. The parties are usually rather tame - enough so that many students expecting to not participate in the party scene (myself included) find them rather enjoyable. To give some sort of perspective, most parties officially end at 1am, but are often unofficially over up to an hour before that. They are often lavishly funded by the school, letting us buy such things as foam machines, mechanical bulls, batting cages and real snow. Many students at Mudd don't drink. There are all sorts of activities available on weekends that don't involve alcohol such as movies, ITR games (a weekly event involving what is essentially a massive game of tag in the school's extensive tunnels) and alcohol free get-togethers. Many non-drinkers also enjoy themselves at alcoholic parties as well. On weekdays, the school is essentially devoid of social events. You can hang out with your friends, watch a movie or play some frisbee, but the workload is prohibitive of major weekend events.
I really like that we can take courses off campus. We have a lot of humanities requirements and I really wanted to take Chinese. I was able to do that at Pomona college...I also took ballroom dance there and was able to make their campus team after only two semesters. They have a tour team that has one the National Ballroom competition in Ohio for five years running. Claremont is a really cute town. HMC's campus landscaping and architecture is a little raw, but Scripps campus right across the street wins awards every year for its beauty.The dorm situation is really nice. There is a fit for the rowdy, the quite, the stoners, the alcoholics, the computer nerds...and everybody pretty much knows everybody else. There is a dinning hall on campus, but you can also eat at any of the other 6 dinning halls on the Claremont colleges. I have no complaints about the food...other than that I miss my mom's cooking. When there is time to get off campus you can take the metro into LA. Many people have cars on campus and are willing to drive you places. I don't have a car and I have never needed one. People are usually pretty generous with their vehicles. I have gone flying, sailing, surfing, climbing, dancing...there are plenty of activities if you can make the time.
I'm not really involved in clubs, although i know they exist. Students definitely leave their doors open, it is a friendly environment. Some intermural athletic events are popular, such as inner tube water polo. There are guest speakers that are here probably weekly, I've been to a lot, they are always amazing, inspiring speakers. The dating scene is odd, a lot of guys and few girls. Luckily there is an all girls school (scripps) right next door, so all the guys that don't find mudd girls can get a scrippsie. I meet most of my best friends at orientation, and i know they will be my friends the whole time i am here. If I'm awake on a tuesday at 2 am I am doing homework. There are too many traditions to list. So many events and parties that happen yearly, it's fun. I party most weekends, but there are also a lot of kids that don't. One saturday i happened to be working in a computer lab at midnight and all these easties were playing computer games until 2, that is their way of partying. There are no frats or sororities. Last weekend I did homework all day, and drank all night. We work hard and party hard. I've been to the beach, and LA there are a lot of things to do off campus.
Most Mudders participate in activities, but very few are Mudd based. The other schools have organizations which are open to everyone. The Christian group I am a part of is Mudd-Scripps together, the band and frisbee team are both all 5C's. Pretty much every weekend there is a party hosted by one of the Mudd Dorms. Theses are the best parties, and most people regard parties on other campuses as not even worth their time. It is really weird to hear people around the country who know about your parties. Mudd parties have even been featured in playboy as some of the best parties around. The social life you have revolves around the dorm you live in as all the dorms have a personality, and this creates an amazing dorm sense of community. As a freshman you take a 3 page survey that will place you in a dorm that works best with you as a person. The people who pick dorms and roommates generally do a very good job. Athletics are participated in, but no one really cares. Because Mudd is combined with Scripps and CMC (a jock school), our sports teams are actually decent. So if you were interested in that kind of thing, the situation is there.
Sleep, Study, Socialize. Pick two. (No, seriously.) Surprisingly, there are numerous clubs on campus. Dozens! There is so much variety I don't know where to start....so I won't. If you come here and there isn't already a club that tailors to your interest, you can start one! All of my closest friends are from upper-division classes I've taken. It is awesome going to class with your buddies and "lunching it" afterwards! Last weekend I went to a rocket launch at the desert roughly 1.2567 hours away. Six professors and six students were there for test flights of the experimental engineering rockets. When we came back, about 40 very successful (aero/aviation) alums at a conference at HMC asked us to talk a bit about the launch. They cheered as we walked into the Green Room dusty and exhausted from the desert... An amazing experience.
The activities and social life are what you make of it. There is ample funding for anything you want to do (What to organize a SCUBA trip? Here's $300 to help with rentals. Want to throw a big party? Here $1000 to help cover costs). Also, there are 5 colleges each, each with their own atmosphere, parties, and activities. That means if you can't find something at Mudd, it's only a minute or two walk away. And... if you really can't find it... then just make it. I founded the Harvey Mudd martial arts club and I started and taught the Harvey Mudd Intro to Martial Arts PE class.
What is very ironic about the Claremont Colleges, and something that was very difficult for me to believe, is that Harvey Mudd throws the best parties. We throw a crazy foam party which has 500 people going crazy in the quad covered with foam. The alcohol/drug policy is unbelievably relaxed and very illegal...I carry around a beer on campus as if it was a bottle of water even though I'm under 21. The administration trusts the students to make responsible decision and for the we do.
The social scene is pretty non existent. If you don't drink,like me, the only other option is to do homework. The thing is I'm compelled to work constantly because of the aforementioned idiotic humanities junk. Students generally leave their doors open because they tend to trust each other, although I realized that that may not be the best idea because I've gotten my skateboard stolen. Last weekend, I just did homework, which is no surprise.
Mudd has great parties, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. My knowlege of alcoholi parties is second-hand, but they're widely acknolwedged as top-notch events. The homework load is pretty severe, and certainly cuts into social life (or sleep) but I find myself with just enough time to do most things that I want to.
The dating scene can be very difficult for girls. Women still make up only about 30% of the student body, so dating can get pretty awkward! My girl friends and I joke that it's not uncommon for us to find ourselves in a group of people that consists of more than one person we have dated or slept with.