Northwestern University Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Tristan

A Cappella seems to be popular and between 35%-40% of the student body is Greek. The Global Engagement Summit is an annual summit that brings together about 100 students from across the country and the world to talk about asset based community development. For the most part, no, not because they are scared of going out but more because they're scared of who might come in. Athletic events aren't popular at all. Guest speakers get a little recognition and I think theatre kids go to each other's shows. Non existent unless you meet a nice boy/girl at Hillel. Greek life. Studying, smoking, or going to BK. Dillo Day. Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat, maybe a random day here and there. Greek life is as important as the student makes it. Last weekend I hung out at my fraternity one night and went to a fraternity formal downtown the other. Sleep, see a movie, smoke. Drink.

Alex

Forget about the dating scene. Unless you're at a frat party most guys here are undesired or "too busy to maintain a relationship." They make great gay friends, though. Fraternities and Sororities are not everything here, but there are a ton of students that go greek. They aren't usually the typical stereotype though.

Nicole

Greek life is very popular on campus. Sports-wise, Soccer and Football are most popular. Whether students leave their doors open depends on the dorm. The dorm I lived in, Allison, was one where we kept our doors open most of the time. Athletic events aren't very popular, though people definitely do go, while guest speakers and theater are. The dating scene is kind of strange-- you are either in a very serious relationship, constantly hooking up, or constantly complaining about the lack of the availability of a great option to date. I met my closest friends in my freshman dorm, through friends, or through my sorority. If I'm awake at 2am I am hanging around the house or out at a party or bar. How often people party completely depends on the person. It's possible to find something to do every night, but some people go out rarely. Fraternities and sororities are a huge part of campus life. There are all kinds of theater events, movies, music events, and restaurants in Evanston for Saturday nights if you don't want to drink.

Veronica

I'm not in a sorority, and I've never had an interest in joining one. I have one friend who's in one, and I still see her. I also don't drink. So what I do on Saturday nights is pretty much what I did in high school. I hang out. I have meaningful conversations. I go out to eat in one of the fantastic restaurants in Evanston. I watch movies. I go see movies. I take the El to Chinatown. I figure out what's going on on campus and I consider going. I make late night runs to the Starbucks in Norris. Sometimes I play Apples to Apples. I love it here, but it is what you make it. That's the most important thing I've learned. If you're unhappy with the way things are going, it's up to you to change it. Northwestern allows you and encourages you to be an adult and determine the course of your own life. Want friends? You have to go out and make them. Want something to do on the weekends? You have to go out and look for it. That's what the real world is like. Welcome.

al

Dating scene is ehhhhh - you must have a significant other if you want to hook up regularly, otherwise you'll run out of the viable guys in a week. We drink a lot - - the most popular groups are probably Greek.

Becca

Most students are involved in the student groups on campus. This ranges from editing the newspaper to being a member of a dance group. All the groups are popular and supported by the other students. The largest activity held on campus is the Dance Marathon. There are many opportunities to attend lectures given by guest speakers. The dating systems is... well it is different. When I first came to school, I was sure that I would never date most of the guys here. However, after being here for awhile, I would not trade a Northwestern guy for any other school's. I heard a rumor after moving in that engineers are socially awkward. The first one I met was and a stereotyped them all. They are not socially awkward and now I seem to be going after the them. They never had the chance to prove themselves in high school and now in college, they can show off how great they are. I met my closest friends through residential college activities and during new student week. Most people party twice a week. There are some who don't at all or go out five times a week. Sororities are not a big deal on campus. They don't do much besides philanthropy events. The fraternities are much better. I'm a girl and I love the frat guys life. They are involved with the philanthropy events, host date/formal parties, and have a special relationship with the brothers. They are also more welcoming to other fraternities than girls are to other sororities.

Sean

most popular: A&O, performance groups, College Dems, IM sports. About half leave doors open. athletic events- not popular, speakers- not popular except if huge name, theater- not sure. dating scene- frequent hookups? closest friends from dorm, sorority. last weekend: 2 frat formals, some meetings, homework. Off campus- restaurants, houses.

Tate

The three major social scenes on campus are the Greek scene, the athlete scene, or the theater scene and if you aren't a part of one of those people might think there is something wrong with you. The Greek scene is what I'm mostly a part of. The school is definitely small enough that within these circles there is a "cool group" although it is a lot more broad than high school. Football games are really popular even though we always lose. Theater is huge at this school and people from all walks of life seem to enjoy the Waa-Mu show and Dolphin show. Ah the dating scene at Northwestern. Although many complain about I think you just have to be resourceful. Mostly people start dating by a sweet drunken make out followed by a progression of drunken hook ups until you reach the all meaningful sober hook up. After hooking up for about a month, going to some date parties or even a formal, eventually you have to declare your relationship as something. Some people still go on dates but that usually only happens after you've established the relationship a bit. Awake on at 2 am on Tuesday I'm probably procrastinating from doing work, eating take out, and gossiping with my girls in my sorority. Or in a better scenario, I'm cuddling in bed with a boy. Speaking for my friends who are very social and in the Greek system I would say most people go out about 3 nights a week. Last weekend I went out downtown to an open bar and the next night went to a fraternity formal. If you want to do something on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking there are always millions of student productions going on from comedy shows to dance shows to a cappella concerts. And there are always movies I guess. Or staying in and getting high? Does that count as not drinking?

Kristin

Engineers for a Sustainable World is a great group that's not just for engineers. We have projects in Panama helping them utilize solar energy and we have projects on campus trying to implement things like biofuel from dining hall waste to power campus shuttles. When people are home, some will leave their door open, some won't depends on the person. Athletic events are varied in attendance, obviously football and basketball trying to fill their stadium, while women's hockey has their fewer loyal supporters. Guest speakers get pretty good attendance in general, but some of the more popular guests will have to sell tickets so we don't creat fire hazards in the auditorium. Theater productions are almost always a hit, even with the surrounding community. A good number of people come to college with relationships back home, but some of those break off, depending on how far away they drift from each other. There are so many people confident in being single, or confident in their relationship on or off campus, but there are also those who are looking for the real deal for life. My closest friends are from the very beginning- the people I introduced myself to during new student week. I try to get to bed at a reasonable hour, so if I'm up at 2am that means I haven't finished my problem set due the next day. Dillo Day is a major happening each year- it's basically our MayFest. People party about every weekend, sometimes multiple nights a weekend, and sometimes starting on Thursday nights, depending on your Friday class schedule. Sor some people fraternity/sorority life is very important, to others- not so much, but they do hold a lot of events throughout the year. This past weekend, I had dinner with the Society of Women Engineers in Evanston, watched a movie with my boyfriend, went on a field trip downtown with Engineers for a Sustainable World, saw a comedy show by an improv group called Me-ow, and ran the dorm government meeting, munchies, and elections. Saturday nights are good for seeing shows by student groups or going downtown for a dinner and a movie or something. There are plenty of places to eat off campus, and Chicago has enormous amounts of entertainment.

Kay

Most popular groups are the frats and sororities. I'm involved in the radio, which has all sorts of people involved - from sports people, to political junkies, to jazz crazies, to indy-rock lovers. Freshmen keep their doors open and then learn to keep them closed when their stuff starts disappear. Athletic events are not very popular, guest speakers are less popular and only friends go to theater performances. People don't date, they either avoid each other, hook up and never talk again or are living together (no in-betweens). I still think of my high school friends as much closer than anyone I met at college. Tuesday night I'm hopefully asleep. I'm not sure of many traditions except dillo day where everyone gets trashed to make up for the fact that they've been studying too hard all year. Some people party all the time, others never go out. Frats and Sororities are extremely important. I have no idea what I did last weekend. Saturday night would involve going out. I go into the city to escape Evanston.

Robin

Socially, there are many options at NU. Many students hit up frat parties on Friday and Saturday nights, however there are plenty of theatre and music events, guest speakers and just general dorm horseplay to keep those who don't want to party entertained. Chicago and Evanston also offer many diverse opportunities for fun, and Evanston provides many opportunities for students looking for a good meal with some friends after a week of dorm food. Most students aren't limited to "one" type of social activity, many will for instance go to a party then see a play, or eat dinner in Chicago but then come back and spend the night chatting with friends in a dorm hallway. People tend to be fairly friendly and most NU kids are rather social and open to many different forms of entertainment.

Lauren

A capella groups run rampant. Depending on the time of day, a lot of people leave their doors open or unlocked. We have really great guests come to the campus. Dorm events are really fun. I met my closest friends from work, my undergrad school (Music), and my dorm. Things to do: anything you can find in Evanston or downtown Chicago, aka anything.

Jennifer

Dating scene is weak; you have to just get lucky to find someone. Social life was kind of limited this past fall with the Dean of Students absurd raid on the Greek system.

Kim

There are lots of parties if you want it, but you don't have to be involved in that scene. The Greek life is totally overwhelming for someone who's not in it--everyone seems to be in some sorority or frat. Athletic events are not well attended, but we have great speakers and shows to make up for it. The dating scene is terrible--most of the guys are so focused on making money or drinking that they forget that girls have feelings, too.

Colleen

Students in dorms leave their doors open a lot. Some of the weirdos always shut their doors. Athletic events aren't very popular because the teams aren't good. The dating scene sucks. My closest friends are on my floor/ in my sorority. I am trying to get to sleep at 2 am on a Tuesday. DM happens every year, and Dillo Day. People party every weekend, sometimes during the week. Greek life is very prevalent. I was sexiled from my room last weekend. You can go downtown and see a show, see a movie, go to the theater, etc. I go out to restaurants off campus, shopping, etc.

Jenna

Greek life is very popular on campus. A lot of students who live on North campus, which is known for being more social, join a sorority or fraternity. I'm in a sorority and I love it. It is very fun to attend the fraternity and sorority date parties and formals. Everyone gets dressed up and takes buses or limos to a bar or venue in Chicago. The Greek Community can seem a little consuming/defining. Since I have joined a sorority I've noticed that when someone introduces someone now one of the first questions they ask is "What sorority/fraternity are you in?" However, I really enjoy it. The dating scene at Northwestern could be better. I hear a lot of complaints. However, I currently have a boyfriend and have a lot of friends who have boyfriends/girlfriends or who have people they are interested in. Within the Greek Community specifically it seems that a good amount of relationships form. There is definitely a lot of overlap though. This last weekend I stayed in on Friday night and hung out in my dorm with friends and had a relaxing night. However, a lot of my friends went out and if I had wanted to I could have gone to a fraternity party or a bar in Chicago with friends. Saturday during the day I had a long brunch with some friends and then went to the library for a little bit as I have midterms this upcoming week. Saturday night I attended a fraternity's formal that was on the top floor of the Sears Tower. Well, there is always the option to attend a party/bar with friends and not drink. I have two very close friends that chose not to drink at all and they still have a lot of fun when they come out with us to fraternity parties and bars. You could also out to eat in Evanston, hang out in your dorm with friends, go to a movie in Evanston, or go into Chicago. Off campus we visit the museums in Chicago, go ice-skating at Millennium Park, go to shows in Chicago, pretty much anything in Chicago...there's so much to do.

Ray

NCDC is a huge umbrella organization for volunteering on campus. You might not realize it until you get here, but there are a ton of really cool volunteer opportunities here. So chances are, you'll get involved with at least one at some point.

Grayson

Theater is the biggest thing on campus, as far as I can tell, but as a major, I'm biased. Nobody really cares about the athletics here, probably because our football team is terrible. If I'm awake at 2am on Tuesday I'm either studying or just chilling with friends. I met my closest friends through classes. Last weekend I worked lights for a show. On a Saturday night, there are always at least three different shows to go to, operas, musicals, straight plays, dance shows, whatever you want, and there's stuff to do in Evanston... fund raisers for different things, always something. Greek life is really big here, but you can definitely not be involved and still be totally fine. I'm not in a house, and I am very happy here. I have friends who are and friends who aren't, and it doesn't make any difference. Most people leave their doors open in my dorm.

Ryan

PWild is the best group on campus. Everyone is fun-loving, adventurous, always up for a good time, totally themselves, accepting, and laid-back. It's a great balance to the competitive environment of Northwestern. I met my closest friends through my hall freshman year and my sorority. Also PWild. Up at 2am, probably on facebook procrastinating on a midterm I'm supposed to be studying for. Dating seen is centered around who you'll ask to Formal, date-parties, etc. No one really asks people out of dates, but people "date." it's kinda complicated.

Sarah

I would describe NU as a pretty social campus. Many people think that it is completely centered around Greek life, and although that plays a prominent role, you certainly don't have to be involved in the Greek scene to go to parties and be sociable. There's always stuff to do on the weekends, particularly if you enjoy going to shows...the theatre, dance, music performances are always fun and those people are extremely talented. On the weekend, it's also pretty normal to go into the city and bar hop, eat, go to shows, etc. There is a pretty decent dating scene also. I know a ton of people in serious relationships, including myself, people that just hook up casually all the time, and those people that actually date around.

Willie

Im so sick of this survey

Catherine

Greek life is huge on campus but not vital to having fun. A lot of students are involved in Dance Marathon. I'm involved in varsity soccer, and as mentioned before, athletes function as a huge clique. We're awesome. Students in Elder (all freshman dorm) are extremely social, especially with members of their own floor. They tend to have a lot of floor pride and move in packs. Performances (ranging from a cappella groups, sketch comics, plays, guest speakers and A&O events) are very popular and tend to sell out quickly. Athletic events don't tend to draw a large or very spirited crowd - we're too busy studying and none of our teams (with the exception of girls' lacrosse - WOMEN'S SOCCER - have very good records). I met my closest friends through my sorority and sports team. People tend to party on Monday and Thursday (bar nights), usually Friday, and generally (but not always) on Saturday. If I'm awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, I'm usually doing homework or watching TV/hanging out in the common room.

Casey

Popular groups are Hillel, boomshaka, fusion, dance groups, sailing team, singing groups like Purple Haze...some students in dorms leave their doors open, but antisocial people certainly dont. Athletic events can be popular but usually aren't, guest speakers are pretty popular, and I have yet to go to a theater event though I'd like to. The dating scene is terrible...often what happens is "Northwesternization of the Ego," which is when, because of the lack of attractive people, those who would usually be a 6 or 7 immediately see themselves as 10s and become shallow, egotistical, lose their personalities, and become jerks. So its tough to find someone you're compatible with, or who is attractive and not a total player. Frat/sorority life is one of the only social scenes here so I'd say its pretty important. On a saturday night you can study or drink, or hang out with your friends.

Lindsay

Not a lot of people really date here, it's kind of like a bigger version on high school, there is definitely still gossip about who is hooking up with who, and what stupid stuff people did over the weekend.

Riley

Theatre here is wonderful. It's executed wonderfully, and it's very popular. Many, if not most, shows sell out to people outside of the theater community. There are shows pretty much all the time, so there's always something to do! Greek life is a big part of the NU social scene. More that a third of the campus has "gone greek". I definitely recommend it! The girls I have met through my sorority are wonderful, intelligent, strong women. I was against sororities before coming here--I couldn't be happier that I joined. A warning, however: DON'T BELIEVE THE STEREOTYPES! I almost didn't join my sorority because of the stereotype associated with it, and that would have been a horrible mistake. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday (or Wednesday morning, I suppose), I'm either writing a paper, in my hall-mates' rooms, or on the phone (or Skype) with my boyfriend. I have rehearsal with my a cappella group until midnight on Tuesdays, and have a lot of work after that usually.

Maddie

lots of volunteering, large greek involvement, im in greek life and volunteering, lots of theatrical things, it depends where you live, some athletic events are very popular, some are not at all, not sure, very popular, people either are in serious relationships or just hooking up, my roommate and who lives in my dorm, im studying on tuesday at 2am, not sure of traditions, people that party usually go out about three days a week, frats and sororities are very popular, i went to a formal for a fraternity, not sure, go downtown somewhat often

Torry

I don't know how to measure popularity. Socially the greeks and athletes go out the most, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they represent most of the student body. School pride lacks at this school- football games are okay but not many people made it a point to go to them. My sophomore year I went to five football games and was invited to 'meet the coach' because I had shown significant school spirit. This is sad. If I'm awake on Tuesday at 2am, I am in my friends room talking about random shit. Dillo day happens each year and if this might be the day where the entire school finally unites together! As they should considering it is amazing. Last weekend I went to a free open bar downtown and went to a fraternity formal. Hmmmmm if you don't want to drink on a Saturday night you could go to a NU play or a movie in Evanston. There are lots of activities in Evanston you could do. But don't try bowling since its outlawed. You could always study on a Saturday night and feed NU's wonderful reputation.

Jordan

Clubs and organizations are great on campus. If you want to go out every night of the week, you could, and you could find someone to go with you. Greek life is pretty big on campus, but I don't feel left out for not being part of it. There are tons of shows, events, lectures, seminars, etc. that don't involve drinking. Of you can go to parties and not drink.

Tristan

I'm the president of the Polish American Student Alliance. We have about 15 members, even though there are probably more Polish Americans at NU. The biggest cultural groups are probably the Indian and Chinese student groups like SASA and CSA. I think most events on campus are pretty popular and get a pretty good turnout, from athletic events to theater events, etc. I personally have not dated anyone from NU during my time here, but that's my choice by staying away from the "scene". The option is definitely there, and I know many people that date other NU students. In the dorms, more social ones definitely leave their doors open (places like res colleges, or ones with a huge social reputation) while smaller ones are more private. If I'm awake at 2am on Tuesday, I'm either talking to someone, watching tv, or doing my homework that's due at 9 am and I haven't started yet. Sororities/fraternities can be pretty important, if you choose for them to be. I'm in a sorority but I don't like frat parties and my involvement is pretty limited. I'd rather spend time with my friends that aren't involved in Greek life. Saturday night activities that don't involve drinking are seriously limited. There's restaurants and movie theaters,and maybe some on campus events. Of course there might be some dorm events going on, but these may or may not include drinking. People who party do so on different levels. Some people go out consistently every night, or on random days during the week. Others only go out on weekends, and some never go out. I think the beauty of NU is that you have a choice to do what you want to do.

Chelsea

Probably the most visible groups on campus are fraternities and sororities. Because Northwestern is small and (somewhat) nerdy, they are an important part of a lot of people's social lives. I'm a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Each year, rush is an intense competition between houses to get the best girls or guys, and there are definitely preconceived notions about each chapter (which is most popular, hottest, richest, etc). I met most of my closest friends at Northwestern through Theta. Almost all are members of my pledge class. They are also girls that lived in my dorm freshman year. At the start of college this is an especially important consideration. Proximity almost assuredly determines your first friends at school. In the more social dorms (Bobb-McCullough, Allison), students do tend to leave their doors open and mingle often with each other. The dating scene at Northwestern doesn't really exist. It's mostly a get-drunk,-hook-up-consistently-until-you-have-the-"exclusivity"-talk,-and-then-be-exclusive -long-enough-that-it's-pretty-obvious-you're-dating scene. Athletic events are not incredibly popular. Students wake up bright and early for "kegs and eggs" before Saturday afternoon football games, but many don't make it to the second half. The football stadium is notorious for having more fans from nearby Big Ten schools than Northwestern. That said, club sports at NU are actually quite popular. Each year, lots of students participate in club lacrosse, rugby, crew and sailing. A lot of these teams (especially rugby and sailing) are known to focus just as heavily on partying as athletics. Theater is huge at Northwestern. There are constantly shows of all sizes going on - and the bigger ones usually get great turn outs. The biggest tradition on campus is definitely Dance Marathon. Students dance for thirty hours straight to raise money for charity. It's the largest student-run philanthropy in the country and Northwestern's pride and joy. It is definitely something that all students should be involved in at least once in their college career. Dillo Day is another beloved campus tradition. Each spring on the last Saturday before Reading Week, Northwestern students "go Berkeley" with outdoor concerts on the lake and off-campus barbecues and parties lasting all day long. It is undoubtedly my favorite day all year. This weekend was pretty typical. Thursday, I went to that night's most popular hotspot, the Deuce, otherwise known as the Mark II Lounge in Rogers Park. Friday night I went to a club downtown because a friend was promoting there. Saturday, I spent the day playing in the snow and ice along the lakefill and visiting (for the first time ever) the Norris Game Room for some ping pong. Afterward, my boyfriend and I went downtown to his brother's apartment for dinner and a movie. Sunday, I spent studying!

Molly

You name it, we got it! Northwestern is brimming with students groups,teams,and organizations. There is a lot of opportunity to get involved with a capella groups, on campus publications, and clubs. Also people are very receptive to new groups, if you don't find what you want. Greek life is very big on campus, but some believe the administration want to eradicate the Greek scene altogether from NU in 10 years or so (but that is a rumor!). Being in a frat or sorority is a lot of fun and I assure you, it is nothing like Animal House here. There are always fun events but they are not intimidating! You have to remember that these are all Northwestern students. There isn't weird hazing or anything here. The dating scene at Northwestern is notoriously bad. People complain that it is either hooking up or serious relationships... nothing in-between. I think, though, that this is the deal wherever you go -not just NU. I have made the best friends here! Everyone is so encouraging and understands where you are coming from. Doors are usually open if people are at home and some of my favorite memories are just hanging out in other peoples' rooms. People usually party 2-3 nights a week. Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are usually big nights to go out. A typical weekend is dinner out with friends, go out to a party later that Friday night, go to downtown Chicago during the next day, see a play on campus that night and maybe go out afterward, and brunch + a couple of hours in the library on Sunday when you tell each other your weekend stories. If you don't drink, you can always go to a play or performance, do downtown Chicago, catch a movie, or just hang out with friends.

Aubrey

NorthByNorthwestern.com and North by Northwestern the Magazine are some of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. I spend the majority of my time writing, editing, or shooting pictures for them. While it also helps with getting myself published, what I love is that I can do journalism in a group that isn't just journalism students. We have Econ majors and Poli Sci majors and anything else you can think of. NBN is one of the best things on campus.

TJ

The Greek scene is huge on campus...40 percent of the student body is Greek. So think about it, if you have a school of lots of really smart kids, and a lot of them are probably really awkward and don't party, your options are either: 1. Go Greek, or 2. Find some good Greek friends who will get you in to frat parties. The frats take turns having themed parties all throughout the year (Athletes and Mathletes, CEOs and Corporate H**s, 80s Party). A good weekend starts on a Thursday and ends on Monday...Monday is a huge bar night, for unknown reasons. Evanston has a couple bars that are completely dominated by Northwestern students. Recently a group of kids were caught with fake ID's, but that has done absolutely nothing to stop underage bar-hopping. One of the most amazing things about Northwestern is that it was a school-sponsored event completely dedicated to the great sport of drinking: Dillo Day. The school usually gets a big-name musician or band (Lupe Fiasco came last year) and everyone eats, drinks, and is merry. However, people definitely don't think you're weird if you don't drink, and there are always lots of sober events going on. Football is huge on campus, though we lose most games. Basketball is not as big, but the student section of games can get tight if we're playing someone we particularly don't like. Northwestern students have a lot of school pride, and people really support each others' groups and interests. A capella shows and dance performances usually get a good turnout, and tickets for speakers and musicians(BJ Novak or Girl Talk, anyone?) are often sold out almost immediately (The current record is BJ Novak, sold out in 45 minutes). Theater is huge, and lots of non-theater people go to theater shows. Evanston has a lot of coffee shops that are open late. A campus favorite is Kaefin, which has open karaoke most weekends. If none of those options work for you, downtown Chicago is only 20 minutes away via 'the El'.

Conor

Dance Marathon- I'm involved with Stuid 22, which is a student run production company that makes three to four grant projects every quarter and gives students an opportunity to learn about the business, learn the equipment and showcase their creativity- I don't know, I never left my door unlocked- A&O Events generally get a big turn out, and home football games, but other than that Northwestern students aren't a very active student body in terms of attending events- The dating scene sucks. non-existant- I met my closest friends through my job at SPAC and through a sorority.- If it's a Tuesday and i'm up that late I'm probably doing work, nobody really goes on on tuesdays- Homecoming, Dillo Day- Three to five nights a week- I would say the Greek scene is very important. I'm not in a frat, but almost all of my friends are in a sorority and those are the people I go out with, and see out all the time- Friday night I went to a movie because I wasn't feeling well, Saturday night I went to dinner and then out downtown, Sunday night i went to Hundo.- See a movie, chill with friends, go to the library- I really enjoy going to the Lyric Opera, and shopping downtown.