The most popular and largest groups would be the football and basketball teams. Howerver, as you can imagine, with 45000 kids from all over the world, there are clubs for any sport you can imagine. Some of the largest organizations are the religious organizations who have been for the most part very tolerant of someone like myself with a complete lack of spirituality. My favorite group is not an official organization, but an offshoot of SCF (spartan christian fellowship) who play ultimate frisbee twice a week. It is just a group that likes to have fun adn run around chasing a disc. Most people like to leave their doors open, but it really varies from community to community. It depends a lot on the demographic of students on the floor, and how close people get during welcome week and the early parts of the semester. Athletic events are wildly popular. On a saturday afternoon there are people spilling out of cars and dorms all over the place heading for spartan stadium. Guest speakers and meetings are posted in the cafeterias andon bulliten boards, along with theaer and comedy performances in the Wharton center. Outside of that, there are movies every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights) that have just gotten out of the theatres but are not yet on DVD. These are held in lecture halls and are free (FREE) to students in the dorms. 45000 people with a pretty even split from all over the world results in lots of options for either gender. There are so many places to go, from restaurants to movies to sporting events that anybody with an ounce of creativity can come up with a nice and inexpesive outing with their significant (or prospective significant) other. I met my closest friends jsut by chance through the wonderous sport of frisbee. I was walking back from class one day after taking a particularly awful test when I saw a disc flying through the air and asked if I could play with them. It was the start of friendships that will most liktely last for many years, and it is a bit of a microchasm of my experience at MSU. Im usually not awake at 2AM. If I am, I'm likely procrastinating, or playing frisbee with glowsticks and a luminescent frisbee (my favorite pasttime). There are all kinds of traditions at MSU. I guess they just develop after a university has been around for so long. Football season and tailgating come to mind, as well as midnight scream during exam week (I think the name is pretty self explanatory), as well as Spartywatch during the night before the UM game just to name a couple. People party a lot, way too much in my opinion. If that is your scene (it is not mine) then you are going to have to get that information elsewhere, but I hear its not a difficult thing to find. Just keep in mind there are other things to do. Fraternities and Sororities play a large part in some students college experience. Personally I am a bit removed from that part of the university, but these organizations do a lot of things such as community service that are admirable, even if they often get a reputation as just hosting lots of parties. Last weekend I went to Shenandoah National Park to hike on the Appalachin trail. I got an internship here in Virginia for the summer thanks to some professors at MSU, so I am not going to be at MSU until the fall. However, a typical fall or spring weekend for me would be a saturday of Mountain biking, probably at Pickney state park ~1 hour away, followed by an afternoon of watching football at Spartan Stadium or playing Ultimate depending on the season, followed by a sunday of more Ultimate, doing laundry, and then watching a movie in one of the lecture halls. On Saturday nights I am usually pretty exhausted from the day. I am very outdoorsy, so I am usually beat by the time the sun goes down. However, I would say the most common thing that people do besides drinking on saturday nights is go watch movies. There are usually 3 choices each weekend every night at 2 times around campus. There are also periodic concerts hosted by the residence hall association. It is not hard to find activities provided you aree willing to look. I do a lot of biking off campus, as well as play a lot of frisbee and hang out with friends who live of campus. When I have family around, I escape the dorm food (which isn't bad, just a little monotonous) and go to one of the restaurants around the area such as Old Chigcago or Iggy's Cafe.
There's no doubt about it, MSU is a football school. If you don't like football then you'll miss out on a HUGE part of campus life. Student tickets are reasonably priced at under $150 for the season. You can always sell your ticket if you can't make the game. The team has been very good with Dantonio as head coach and it looks like they're only getting better. Tailgating with friends, family, and alumni brings you really close together and gives you a sense of belonging. Besides football MSU has one of the top basketball programs in the nation under coach Izzo. Membership in the Izzone is a coveted prize for the dedicated fans and they have to meet several requirements to get tickets in the lower bowl. The atmosphere is extremely energetic and an absolute blast. Other sports of note are Hockey, Volleyball, and Baseball. The key linking all these sports together is a high energy atmosphere and a passion on the part of the students. I would recommend going to at least one game for each of the big sports. If you aren't a sports person there is still a ton of things to do. Fine arts are a big thing here. The new art museum opens in May '12 and will host millions of dollars worth of art. The Wharton Center has big name productions come through pretty regularly, and the theater department puts on some great shows of their own. There is so much to do here that it's hard to write it all down. There are a ton of restaurants down Grand River that can provide you with whatever you're craving. The MSU dairy store has some of the best ice cream in the country and constantly comes out with new flavors. Other than that there's the on campus dining which is outstanding for the most part. Snyder-Phillips, Brody, and Case hall have new gourmet dining rooms that are highly touted. Of course we do get a lot of partying in as well. It is possible to party 7 days a week, but I'd strongly advise against it. With such a large campus the parties vary greatly in size and style. There are huge frat parties with well over 2,000 people down to small house and apartment parties with a few friends. Halloween is NOT to be missed. It is a huge event at State and one of the best weekends during fall semester. Go all out and dress up, almost everyone participates and has fun. Just be SAFE!
The most popular people on campus are definitely people involved in the college a cappella scene. Maybe not really, but some of them are. I'm involved in one of these groups and it's a great way to get exposed to a lot of different people, and have a lot of fun doing it. It's also a good way to NOT sit around in your dorm room doing nothing. You don't have to be in a singing group though, or a sports team (although they definitely get a lot of attention too). There are a lot of different groups that are active on campus. You can do volunteering, or you can play IM sports with other teams from MSU (because we have enough people to do that). You can organize the student government in your hall (or for the entire campus if you're really ambitious). You can also be a part of the UAB (University Activities Board) and help plan the cool events (rock shows, free movies, guest speakers, campus-wide parties during welcome week) that go on. Frats and sororities are as important as you choose to make them. They are really popular and they throw great parties, but the more people out of frats than in them, and it's not too hard to find another place to make really tight friends and have fun. It's also important to know that the north side of campus runs along Grand River Ave which has just about everything you could need for a socail scene. Bars, restaurants, Ice Cream Stores, Taco Bell (YES!), Insomnia Cookie, there are plenty of cool places to go. There's also a lot of good stores to get clothes, books, and MSU gear. A couple of miles down Grand River (literally, only a couple) is the Meridian Mall. It's a pretty decent size mall, and a lot of kids from campus like to hang out there. So it's got a pretty good scene.
Most popular groups on campus are the ones that are sport related, like the izzone, our basketball crowd, slapshots, which is our hockey crowd and then the infamous foot ball crowd, all fun, all exciting, and all so spirited it gets us in trouble sometimes. One of the most amazing sights is to see all of the students in the football section to be moving and chanting at once. Unison in all areas. Its crazy cool. Dating scene. Dude I work at a bar, I don't have a boyfriend but am seeing someone, a lot of my friends don't have boyfriends but thats all because they drink to much to have ones. Its easy to meet people, just hard to find someone who wants to settle down. We are young live it up. Hahaha every night is a party night, so in response to the question if you are awake at 2am on a Tuesday, you are walking home from the bar or stumbling your way to a taxi. Which taxi's are seriously everywhere. We are one of the most equipped towns for the night life, in terms of safety, when I have to call the cops because some drunk guy is harassing me at work they are there within 30 seconds. ELPD can be amazing sometimes, they can also be very rude, but all around just looking out. Our greek world is huge here, I am not in a sorority but live right next to one, seriously it is such an extensive system I cant keep track of all the stuff they have going on. I worked last weekend. On a Saturday night that does not involve drinking would probably be either working for me, or having a cookout and maybe a movie, golfing during the day and some intense Wii challenges to fill the night.
Meeting friends is probably the easiest when you're living in the dorms because you're surrounded by people that are your same age and usually have common interests. I met my best friend because we simply worked in the Phillips Cafeteria and she lived down the hall from me, and later with me for the next 3 years. As for the night life, Freshman and Sophomore years, although you can't go to the bars, are probably the best years. I know I personally lived in the dorms both years and it's just so much fun having all of your friends in one building, someone wants to hang out you can just walk over in sweats and have a little get together right then and there-- no planning no worrying about what to wear-- it's just fun. Also, take advantage of all the many house parties that go on. You will meet SOOOO many people just walking around the streets of EL. Most of the time at night people may be a little tipsy so it could be easier to make friends with just a little "hey!" If you're a girl, frat parties those years are THE best... So many boys and they have the best parties-- graffiti parties are my personal favorite!
There are a lot of people who participate in the Greek system, but if you don't, you won't be left out. I met my closest friends in really random ways- that goes to show how friendly MSU students. I met one of my best friends at a bus stop one random Friday night, and just last weekend, my friends and I started talking to a random girl walking down Grand River, and we've already hung out with her again once this week. MSU students are ALWAYS willing to chat with you or help you if you're lost. If you're not interested in drinking there are always University sponsored activities on campus. Actually, there are usually multiple different choices. If nothing else, every weekend night there are 4 movies that are played in Wells hall for free if you live on campus- if you don't live on campus it cost $2. The movies are always really recent and it's a great deal.
Parties hard and Parties often. There is never really a shortage of parties. Frats and Sororities are suprisingly open to letting people in and you can have a good time there, but it can be awkward if you aren't into the chest bumps and generic looking sorority girl. It tends to be underclassmen in those scenes. On the other hand if you are walking the streets, dont be surprised if a house party invites you up for a beer. Beware: $5 is the standard rate at parties for a cup even if you "know the guy who lives there" and girls don't assume a free cup every night no matter how good you think you look. Don't complain, pay for the cup and have a good time.
Join a sorority or Frat if you are into it. If you aren't into join a club that fits your major or that you are interested in. Get a job and network with locals. You will have a lot of free time and its a great way to meet people in the area who have know of fun things to do. Join an Im sport!! You don't have to be good at it! Its really competitive once you get to the finals, but you are just playing for fun you probably won't get that far anyway. Its so much fun do it! Go to the MSU website and type in events in the search engine. You can find open skate times, theater performances, planetarium times, art museums, rodeos, monster truck rallies...
Spartan Football! Every student MUST get season tickets. I'd also say study abroad. I formed a ton of friendships on study abroad that I wouldn't trade for the world. It was a great experience and an opportunity I'll only have once in my life. It's great that MSU makes all freshmen live in the dorms because you really learn a lot about yourself and it's a great way to meet people. Yes partying is a huge part of life here, but if you don't like to party you don't have to. No one forces that upon you. There are plenty of activities on campus that don't involve drinking.
IM teams are a fun way to keep in shape and meet people. fraternities and sororities are pretty much there if you want them, but if you don't they're avoidable. on a given weekend, you could... -go to a hall event (they're fun sometimes) -"chill with your bros and play some gamecube" (no really, that's what i did about 60% of the time" -walk around grand river and buy food -go to the cafeteria -start a band i met most of my friends because they either lived on my floor or knew people who did. also some people in my classes, and some people on my teams.