Northwestern University Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Bryan

There's plenty of amazing stuff to do on campus if you find it. I'm involved in the Sailing Team and Project Wildcat. These are great groups of people that are very active and I enjoy hanging out with all the time, because they allow me to be spontaneous.

Kevin

There are two groups on campus--theater people or greek people. If you're not in those, and you're not an athlete, you can end up lost in the shuffle. The Greek System is great here, and participation is high. Students for the most part leave their doors open and are very approachable. Football games are popular, but that's about it, not a lot of passion for sports at NU. Some people party 5 nights a week, an average socialite probably does 2-3 nights a week.

Mark

Dance Marathon is a real big deal here, It is the largest student run philanthropic event in the nation. The big dorms are very social. Some of the smaller ones appear to be antisocial. Partying is not as prevalent here as it is at other schools, though it happens more than non-Northwestern people think. The greek life is central to the Northwestern social scene. There are plenty of shows by students each weekend. In fact, just this last weekend I went to a student stand up comedy show.

Taresh

If you like going out, you'll find people to go out and drink with 6 or 7 nights a week. There have been months at this school where I've averaged 6 nights of drinking a week. If you don't want to though, you'll find people to do whatever it is you want to do. Basically your freshman and sophomore year is dominated by going to frat parties, then by junior year you graduate those to go downtown and take advantage of Chicago. What's weird about NU is that the week is much more packed than weekends. Mondays at the Keg, Wednesday's a frat is having a date party or something, Thursdays at the Deuce, and Sundays at Hundo. The weekend most people go downtown.

Benji

The dating scene, I have found, is rather sparse. There are a good deal of attractive people at Northwestern, and a good deal of dateable people as well--but it just seems that people are most intent on finding someone to hook up with than for a real relationship. Not being in a fraternity or sorority might also decrease your chances of finding someone you like.

Jessica

we are HUGE on greek life and it is so differnet here from state schools, which is what makes NU so proud of it. However, they do limit it alot. Frats and sororities are really the only way of partying on this campus....otherwise your studying.

Dylan

Those that are social gravitate towards eachother. Those that are not keep their desks company on friday nights. Those that are social try too hard to compensate.

Tristan

There is a TON to do here on campus. 40% of students go Greek here, which allows for a good social life here on campus. I am involved with Delta Gamma sorority, which has many events each quarter. Athletic events aren't so popular (I wish they were!). There is a lot going on with theater, as we have one of the best theater programs. There are always acapella shows, dance shows, or theater performances going on. I'd say there is a "party crowd" or people who go out a fair amount per week. But, of course, there is plenty to do that does not involve drinking. For example, people go to Chicago to see a show, to explore some museums, or stay on campus to see some shows. There are some bands that come to play at Northwestern, which is a big hit considering the long lines people wait on to get tickets.

Ryan

Lame.

Charlie

ALmost no NOrthwestern activities are popular. I go to a lot of sporting events and there are barely any students there for the most part. Theater has a loyal following but it is pretty small.

Kat

I think that greek and theater are really popular. Pwild and Sailing are kinda well known. Lots of dance groups like grafitti and boom shaka. and acapella groups are big too. I'm involved with sailing and its everything - a sport, a social network, and an organized team. I love it. Students in willard mostly leave there doors half open, open enough for friends to come in but closed enough to ward off strangers -- not really open to social mingling. I met my closest friends through willard and DG. I'm in discussing some crazy idea with my friends. Dillo day is huge, so is DM. Parties range from everynight people (up north or crazy theater southies) to one or twice a week (ME). I think sororities aren't that important for social life on campus, i just like mine because my best friend is in it with me and we get food and a nice house to feel at home in and one day live in. Last weekend i went into the city with my friends for dinner. Go into the city, go see plays, go hang out at a coffee house, go see a movie, stay in and cozy up as my friends call it...you can do alot without drinking.

Laura

If you want t you can easily be involved in something. The Greek life here seems a lot more friendly and laid back compared to some of the horror stories I've heard from my friends back in the South.

Paul

The most powerful groups on campus are the fraternities and sororities. When I came in to college, I thought the last thing I was going to do was join a frat. But, it became clear that if you want to be social, you have to go Greek. So my friends and I joined a frat and ended up making a ton of friends. The Greek system is a great way to meet people, especially upperclassmen and sorority girls. The athletic teams at NU generally suck, so in general nobody really goes to their games. People usually go to football games, but don't expect a Big 10 football atmosphere here. Usually the other team has more fans than we do. Generally, students go out Monday, Thursday, and on the weekends. There are a couple bars that everyone goes to, so it's fun to hang out with the same people, but it can also get stale. On the weekends people usually go downtown to mix things up. Last week was the first week of the quarter so I went to the student bars on Monday and Thursday, and then went to downtown Chicago to a concert on Saturday night.

Andy

Theater is very big on campus, and lots of students who are not directly involved come out and support their friends who are. It depends on the dorm, but in many of the smaller dorms doors are left open and unlocked. The dating scene is what many girls complain about--that guys just want to pick up girls at bars and not date them. The Greek scene is fairly important socially, but it's not quite at the 'Greekness' of state schools, how involved you decide to become really depends on how involved you want to be. Chicago is available for cultural excursions not involving drinking like theaters, concerts, museums, restaurants, shopping and the like.

Jessica

Greek scene does have an impact on social life but it is not necessary. NU students go out later than most other schools usually because you are studying until the last minute before you go out.

Harper

Few bars in Evanston (Deuce, Keg) otherwise cab or el it downtown. Get a good fake as early as possible. Join a frat or sorority if you aren't completely against it. You'll be really social and make good friends early on this way, and its not a very big commitment as an upperclassman.

Jenny

If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday (which I usually am!), I'm probably talking to my friends in the dorm or doing homework. Fraternities/sororities are pretty important and make up 40 percent of the student body, but there are still social events and philanthropies that don't involve the Greek scene. A campus group I'm involved with is SELF, where students tutor at a school in Chicago once a week. I love that I can be involved with the Chicago community and help out struggling students from impoverished areas, and it's great that so many of my peers care enough to participate in this program.

Alison

the dating scene here doesn't exist. you're either hooking up or you're exclusively together. it sucks royally. the guys here...not that great. if you want something exciting go over to Loyola where the guys are half as smart but twice as good looking.

Rachel

Greek life is big, but there are other ways to become involved.

Gene

Dating scene is mostly just hooking up, like any college. If you're a guy and you have any game whatsoever, Northwestern will be a gold mine because a large percentage of the male population is in theater or music or engineering and not likely to be competing for girls or competing on the same level as you.

Terry

Social life. ha. Is there such a thing? The University has been cracking down hard on the Greek scene to try and limit their potential liability. Meanwhile Evanston has also been increasing their crackdowns on parties. Eventually, something has to give. Saturday nights here are ironically quiet. The most popular days are Monday and Thursday for drinking. There is always some sort of theater production or show going on, but mostly attended by the half of campus that you don't want to associate with anyways.

Mike

As far as the social life on campus (or off-campus?) life goes, it is mostly centered around Greek Life (yes, theater kids have their own parties but I can't even go as far to explain what goes on there). Evanston provides entertainment with Mondays at the Keg and Thursdays at the Deuce, though sophisticated party-goers opt for downtown action in Chicago. Northwestern students party hard, but they work much harder in the long run.

Cary

Since no one is as cool or interesting as me, I keep to myself. I don't want anyone else's questionable morals and opinions to influence me in anyway, so I stay in my room and have conversations with my pillow. Northwestern is great because there is no pressure to be social at all.

Ben

this is an active campus with enough parties to keep you entertained and many active student groups

Alex

Northwestern's activities are great but the social life is highly concentrated around the Greek system. It would be nice if there were lots of alternatives to that.

Terry

Fraternities are big, but not overwhelming. Something like 30% of the student Body is greek, which makes it a scene, but not the only scene on campus.

Jacob

The undisputed number one extracurricular activity at Northwestern is Dance Marathon. Up to 700 students a year are actively involved in raising money for a different, notable cause. Then, those students who raise the minimum required amount (generally this is almost every student who tries) gets to prove his worth by dancing for 30 hours straight. The dance is separated into 10 three hour blocks each with a different theme, and the blocks are livened up with performances by student groups (dance groups, stand-up and improv groups) and interviews and speeches by people relevant to the cause. At the end of the thirty hours, the total number of donated funds is announced. Generally the number is in the 700 to 800 thousand dollar range.

Madeline

The night life isn't too great. There are pretty much three bars in Evanston to choose from. If you're willing to go into Chicago then being in close proximity to the school is GREAT! There is a lot of drinking, but if you're not into that, you can ALWAYS find people who are more laid back and chill.

Phartz

Dillo day is epic. Drinking is most of what happens at Northwestern "social life" wise.

Terry

The football team is surpringinly low key. People go to the games, but not that many

Corinne

Northwestern has a variety of activities and student initiatives that anyone can get involved in. There are activities for every interest, and if there is not, then someone is liable to create something for others to get involved in. School spirit is not that prevalent, and sports are not what Northwestern is known for. Socially, students are always willing to meet new people and usually go out on a typical Friday or Saturday night. However, many students also do homework or study. Frats are a big deal on campus, and orchestrate much of the social life on weekends for people who are into that. The dating scene is virtually nonexistant - people seem so involved in whatever they are doing on campus that they give off the impression that there is no time for dating or a serious relationship. A lot of upperclassmen go into Chicago on the weekends to bars and restaurants.

Libby

The most popular social outlets for students on campus are fraternities and sororities. There are more than ten frats and sororities on campus and about 1/3 of NU students are Greek. There are tons of groups on campus, ranging from Darfur-awareness groups to religious groups like Hillel. Theater and the performing arts are huge on campus and on any given weekend there is always a performance, concert or show to attend. Athletics exist, but the major sports like basketball and football usually end with an NU defeat. DM is probably the biggest event on campus, one that draws togther the entire campus.

Aaron

There is always something to do on campus, whether it be seeing an A Capella group, a theater production, a stand up comedy show or a modern dance production. Nearly every weekend provides amply opportunity for interaction as well as participation. At the same time, Greek life is very central to campus activity outside of special activities like those mentioned above. There are few parties. The parties that do exist, are heavily regulated by the university as far as alcohol goes. Therefore, the social life can be lacking, but only if you are not active. No matter what you want to do on campus, the opportunity is there.

Peter

There is usually something going on every weekend. whether it is a student performance or play. And of course there always is Chicago which has lots to do.

Jesse

The most prevalent social groups on campus would probably be frats and sororities. Sorority rush is probably the most terrifying, heartbreaking process freshmen girls could be put through. Northwestern has a "top three" consisting of Theta, Tri Delt and Kappa. Though this year Kappa's pledge class sucked and they didn't make quota so it's probably more like a "top two" now. Girls walk into rush expecting to get into those houses and the reality is 3/4 of them won't get a "top" house. At Northwestern athletic events are sometimes popular, but are constantly dissapointing. People only really go to football and men's basketball games, and we almost never win. On a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking I go out to dinner and a movie with a girlfriend or order in and hang out with my boyfriend.

Alex

I am involved in Boomshaka, a Stompesque dance/rhythm team on campus. They are very dedicated and rock. In my dorm students leave their doors open, which I really appreciate. The dating scene is quite non-existent... a lot of my closest friends are from my dorm. On a Tuesday at 2 am.. I am studying. People love to party... Monday night Keg, Thursday night Deuce, and the weekends are crazy. Greek life is quite popular, like 40% of campus is involved in Greek life. Last weekend I hung out with Boomshaka. On a Saturday night, you can go to the movies, go down to Chicago, having a girl night in your dorm, go to a coffee shop .. lots of stuff.

Michelle

greek like is pretty big here, but you dont HAVE to be a part of it to have a social life. it's probably more crucial for guys than girls to be in a frat. there are lots of events on campus...theatre, dance, lectures, concerts

Robin

Fraternities and sororities are very important at Northwestern. About 40% of the student population is a member of a frat or sorority, and it feels like more. Greek life here isn't intense or intimidating at all, it's basically just a low-key organization that provides you with some parties and a place to live.

Corinne

I think fraternities/sororities are extremely important on Northwestern's campus. Because close to half of the students are Greek, the system creates a bond. Joining a sorority was one of the best decisions I made this year, especially because I didn't come to Northwestern thinking that I wanted to rush. I met so many girls that I wouldn't have met otherwise, especially because I live South Campus.

Lauren

The most popular thing to do on campus is Dance Marathon, which is a huge philanthropic event held every spring, although the preparation takes the entire school year. Most people do that at least once. The other popular thing to do is participate in research. Every department has research opportunities, so take advantage of those. You can work directly with professors and maybe even get your name published. About 30% of the campus is Greek, but you don't need to go Greek by any means to have a huge social network and go to parties. Dorm life is definitely the way to go at least the first year; leave your door open and meet people. There are always going to be those stereotypical nerds you can't talk to, but there's lots of outgoing people who like to work hard, and then play hard. Dating scene is not as bad as people make it out to be. I met my boyfriend of four and half years now in my dorm, and many people I know are getting married to people they met while at NU. There's not a lot to do at NU on the weekends that doesn't involve drinking, so if you're not into drinking, find some friends who like to do something else, like going downtown Chicago or hanging out in downtown Evanston.

James

There are too many groups on campus so I will not say which one is the most popular. Because there are so many different groups, students should really decide which clubs/groups they want to devote their time to. The bulk of my time has been devoted to my fraternity, Lambda Phi Epsilon. We are an Asian-interest fraternity that caters to the Asian community. If you want to have a full college experience (people that will mentor you, brotherhood, parties, etc), I believe my fraternity has everything to offer to students. I know this is a biased opinion because I am currently the Chapter President of my fraternity. However, I feel so strongly about my organization because it has practically defined my college experience. Students in dorms generally leave their doors open. Athletic events are not that popular. I would say most students attend football games at least once during their college experience. Guest speakers are very popular. One time, a student group brought Kanye West to perform. Most recently, the school brought in Lifehouse to perform for freshmen during New Student Week. Theater is not as popular...maybe this is also because I am not interested in theater and haven't actively sought out any theater-related events. I will not comment on the dating scene because I have never dated a Northwestern student. I guess this means that Northwestern's dating scene is pretty bad. I met my closest friends through my fraternity. These are the guys that will be my "best men" at my wedding in the future. If I were awake at 2AM on a Tuesday when I was a freshman, sophomore, or junior, I would probably be studying with one of my fraternity brothers. Now that I am a senior however, at 2AM, I would probably be playing the XBOX360 or taking a survey like this! One Northwestern tradition that happens each year is called Dillo Day which takes place during Memorial Day Weekend. This is when the school brings in various performing acts like rock bands, etc and students get drunk for the whole weekend. I would say people party every weekend when it is not exam season. Every Friday or Saturday night, you will see lots of drunk Northwestern students eating at the 24-hour Burger King located next to campus. Fraternity and sorority life at Northwestern is huge. I have heard a statistic that says around 40% of Northwestern students are greek. Being a greek myself, I would say that greek life is awesome and every student should check it out to see if they like it or not. Last weekend, I was at the campus of University of Chicago because their chapter of Lambda Phi Epsilon was hosting a social event with our sister sorority. If you don't want to drink on a Saturday night, you can go explore downtown Chicago. It is such a huge and exciting city to be in. There is something for everyone to do and see.

George

It depends on which dorm you live in: allison hall is pretty sociable, simply because it's mostly freshmen, so everybody wants to get to know each other. Some athletic events are more popular than others: the football games that people thought we could win, people went to, the others, nobody gave a shit enough to come, so the student section was maybe half-full if we were lucky. Almost nobody goes to the basketball games, or basically any other sport even though we rock at most other sports and suck at the big ones: basketball and football. the dating scene is just like any other college, i would imagine: people don't really date, they just kind of hook up consistently until they realize that their partner is also exclusive and then "officially" become exclusive. there is a lot of pressure to have sex, which i suppose is the same at any college. People paint the rock here, which is a pretty cool tradition. There's like two parties every weekend fall and spring quarters and sometimes one during winter quarter. fraternities and sororities basically control the social life here. if they don't have any parties, nobody goes out. My advice: get a fake, or find someone who has a fake if you want to drink consistently. There isn't that much to do on a saturday night that doesn't involve drinking, except sometimes there are plays to see, which can be entertaining.

nope

I guess Greek stuff./Hispanic Freshman Advisory Board. Not much to tell./Yes, but not really in winter. It's a sad time, seriously./People go to everything. If it's high profile, tickets will sell out in an hour./Ha!/In the dorm./Probably, studying. In a better world, watching TV or talking to friends./You can read about them on Wiki... they aren't super exciting./Often./Fairly important, I think 30 or 40% of the school is Greek./Stayed in with friends./Whatever you want, I guess./See the city, bum around Evanston.

Trina

Our social life has everything from frat parties to movie nights. we rock it all. The guy down the hall from me never locks his door, but i don't think you'd wanna do that everywhere. Greek life is huge, but there's plenty going on if your not in it!

Eddie

Dance Marathon is by far the most popular philanthropic organization. Students dance for 30 hours straight on a weekend in March after fund raising all year. Students leave their doors open all the time. Two roommates -- my friends -- haven't locked their door since the beginning of the year because they didn't want to deal with the hassle of losing their keys. Everyone knows their room is unlocked, but nothing is ever stolen. Football is fairly popular and basketball is well-attended , but we are the smallest student section out of all the Big 10 schools. Our three-time defending national champion women's lacrosse team is the sport where the student section is most routinely filled. There is a lack of a dating scene. Most people don't date. It is generally agreed that the women are more attractive then the men, but for an 8000 person "smart: school, we have our fair share of hotties. Partying is generally only on the weekends, but there is some bar-hopping on weekdays. Greek life is fairly prevalent, but the frats are much tamer than our Big 10 brethren. If you dont have friends off campus to drink with, Greek life will be important. Northwestern has very few traditions outside of painting the rock. Student organizations or individuals must stand by a large rock in the center of campus for 24 hours to guard it, and then they paint it at night, advertising events or even peoples birthdays.

Blake

Sororities and fraternities are very popular. Students don't leave their dorm doors open after the first month of school. If they are in their dorm, they are busy studying, smoking pot or sleeping. In cases where the door is open, it's because there is a group of people playing video games or watching a movie. People definitely party, but if you aren't into that scene no one cares. Our recent event like a Flight of the Conchords concert and a BJ Novak stand-up comedy event have been really popular. If it's a well-known but quirky event, people will definitely show up. GO TO CHICAGO ON THE WEEKENDS.

Lisa

A&O, Mayfest, Daily Northwestern... those are the ones "everyone" is in. I write and edit for Northbynorthwestern.com, an independent student Web magazine. We're basically fucking awesome, and we've won tons of SPJ awards. We cover campus news, politics, life & style, entertainment, sports, fiction, and plenty else. There's blogs, columns, multimedia, etc. It's an amazing publication to be a part of. And the atmosphere is really fun. It's not tool-ish, I promise. When I lived in Allison, EVERYONE left their doors open. Now in Bobb, almost no one does. But people knock and chill. Athletic events and guest speakers = not so popular. Theater productions usually get a good draw of students. The dating scene is... what it is. Most people do random hookups or somehow are mysteriously in very serious long-term relationships. I had a long-distance boyfriend all last year, so I'm kind of new to the dating scene. I've done the hookup thing, and I'm kind of dating someone now. And the fact that I say "kind of" is more of a reflection of my own commitment issues than something wrong with NU. Few people go on actual dates, you know, to dinner or to movies, unless they're in relationships. I met my closest friends on my freshman hall, Allison 4th floor. If I'm awake at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, I'm editing Life & Style stories for NBN. If by 2 a.m. you mean Monday night (kind of confused if you mean M or Tues night), I might be drunk and leaving the Keg. It's a toss-up. Traditions/events: Dillo Day... and Mexican night in the dining halls! Ha ha People party Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays. I usually do 2 of those nights, but some go for all of them. Fraternities/sororities are too important. I'm saving that for no holds barred. Last weekend... I passed out Thursday night. I was so tired. Friday night I chilled and watched movies with friends. Saturday night we pregamed in Bobb then went to Bat 17, then Hundo. Sunday I had to edit. You can go to theater stuff, watch movies with friends, go into Chicago... but no one really does. Off campus? I study a lot at Cafe Ambrosia. I pretty much live there.

Emily

There have been lots of great people coming to campus while I've been here,the most notable being NU almuni Zach Braff (who came to answer questions--it was great!) and Stephen Colbert (who was Grand Marshall of our Homecoming Parade two years ago--high-fiving him and getting to see him in person like has been one of the highlights of my student experience, I adore him and his show!). But we've also had former White House Chiefs of Staff Leon Panetta and Andrew Card, former Crossfire host Paul Begala, activist Angela Davis, the first and only female African-American senator Carol Moseley Braun, Jeff Corwin, Ariana Huffington, and Valerie Plame Wilson, among other speakers, as well as performances on campus by the bands Lifehouse and OKGO and singer Ben Kweller! it has been amazing to see all these people in person and hear them speak/perform..... I met my closest friends through my dorm, which is where you will meet most people, though I've met plenty of casual aquaintances through my classes and activities as well. Students usually leave their doors open in the beginning of the year, like in the first few weeks, but by the middle of fall quarter they're closed, though that doesn't necessarily mean people are anti-social, they just would prefer not to be on display, etc. If I am awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, I usually doing homework, or online procrastinating--I usually so my work in the early hours of the morning/late at night. There are plenty of options for a Saturday night besides drinking--last Saturday for example I chose between an opera and a play (there seem to be at least one, if not more shows every weekend--theater is *very* popular here!), then afterwards joined some students in the TV lounge watching a movie. The night before I had gone to see a movie at the close-by Evanston movie theater with some friends. I've actually missed several plays I've wanted to see in the last few weeks because I've had so much else going on. If you're bored with campus, there's also always the city of Chicago about 1 hour away by El train, with all their theater and concerts and activities and sights. A couple of weekends ago for example I went on a trip organized by the Center For Student Involvement to Millenium Park for some ice skating, which was lots of fun. And closer than Chicago you have all the shops and restaurants and movie theater (with both mainstream and artsy films) in Evanston. Every year there's Dillo Day, a day of concerts, free food, and for many, debauchery. There's also the Primal Scream the Sunday night before exam week at 9 pm which is always fun, and painting the rock (a big rock on the plaza between 4 of the main buildings on South Campus), which groups and individuals do at night, after guarding it for 24 hours beforehand to promote events and groups or just for fun--like my dorm did it during fall quarter.

Rachel

The dating scene here is not good at all. Everyone seems awkward and shy, so I've given up. Even my roommate is having no luck, and that's saying a lot. I met my closest friends in my dorm. It's annoying it has to be like that though - no one in this dorm ever leaves, and nobody in my group of friends has any friends outside of the dorm, which I find really pathetic. I have two pretty good friends outside of the dorm. If I'm awake at 2am on Tuesday, I'm studying. If everyone else is awake, they're wasting time. In terms of being off-campus, I sometimes go to Chicago to shop or go to the Art Museum. I also like to get into Evanston - I go to coffee shops, Barnes & Noble, Panera for lunch occasionally. I would love to go to Evanston more, but no one in my dorm ever wants to go anywhere.

Dylan

I stay up late. I sleep in until I have a class so I do homework at night. I go out 2 or 3 times a week which is perfect I think. My life is not a complete shitshow but its a great time. If you dont want to drink you can just chill with friends and watch a movie and facebook stalk potential hotties. I met a lot of my friends in the dorm and then through them other people. I met some girls when I joined a sorority but never got too close, I dropped out after two quarters. I left my door open freshmen year but not after that.