Oberlin College Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?


Lots of social activism groups and creative collectives (hip hop, literary magazine, improv troupes, yadda)


Lots of social activism groups and creative collectives (hip hop, literary magazine, improv troupes, yadda)


There's always too much to do at Oberlin and, surprisingly, the majority of it has nothing to do with alcohol. On any given night, one has over 20 choices of activities and that can include concerts, movie screenings, plays, dance performances, dancing at the 'sco (on campus club), going to Cleveland for an event there, study party, cookie baking party, dinner plans or doing one's homework. If I'm awake at 2am? I'm probably just getting out of the library having finished a very satisfying discussion about something really important to me that probably has little or nothing to do with any of my academic classes.


There's no greek life. And I think most people are happy about that. A typical Saturday: sleep in, go to a co-op lunch (or Black River brunch), study for most of the afternoon (maybe attend a rugby game, or catch a quick afternoon recital), dinner, go to a concert (or dance performance or play or opera or movie at the Apollo), then have some drinks (or not) and go to a friend's house for a game (or movie or party). Conclusion: there are lots of different things to do--from making your own fun to the huge number of concerts and other performances offered every weekend. Parties and other activities are pretty casual. Plenty of people drink, but plenty of people don't. People rarely stray from the town and campus of Oberlin. Most people meet friends from teams/groups, dorms, and classes.


The problem with Oberlin is not that there's too little to do in our rural Ohio community - it's that there's too much! Students rarely if ever need to leave campus to find entertainment; some of the many activities include the conservatory of music, which puts on over 400 concerts a year, the student dance club/bar (the 'sco), which puts on many more smaller concerts or will have a dj playing most nights, lecturers who are brought in by various departments and organizations, sporting events, improv groups, and just hanging out with friends!


There are so many opportunities on campus, which is a reason why most students don't go into Cleveland on weekends. Because of the world famous Conservatory, there are so many classical and jazz concerts, as well as the 'Sco which has live bands and DJs every night. There are usually a couple parties per weekend but they get shut down around 2.


Whether your fancy involves playing dungeons & dragons, studying, hanging out at the bar, seeing concerts, or getting blackout at a house party, you'll find your scene. The myth that people don't go out and have parties is so far from the truth. I can't remember a single saturday or friday night where I didn't have something substantial to do. During slower parts of the semester (in terms of workload) you'll find people going out any day tuesday through saturday. Oberlin IS 'cliquey', but these cliques are large. Hipsters/art students hang out together, athletes hang out together, and etc. These groups rarely mix, either. You will NEVER see an athlete at a hipster party or vice versa. And in fact, these groups can tend to be snobbish and selective, despite each scene involving dozens of people.


Senior Patrick Willem's movie on Art Rental! For one night, at the beginning of the semester, the courtyard of Allen Art Museum fills up with students. That night is art rental. Students line up with tents, sleeping bags, board games and homework, ready to camp out all night so they can take home a priceless work of art in the morning. You can’t jump or cut in line, save a space or leave for any extended period of time. First come, first served. At 9:00, the museum opens and students come in to choose their pieces. Students can pick two pieces of art. The Picassos, Dalis, Matisses and Chagals go fast, but there are 400 works to choose from, so everyone can get something. No work has ever been damaged, lost or stolen. After they chose, volunteers and docents wrap the pieces, so student can carry them back to their dorms easier. It costs only 5 dollars to rent a piece of art. We want art to be for everyone.


Student activities are often frenzied. People keep trying to cram more and more 'experience' into their days and nights. Be careful of burnout.

David Arnow

The following things were true in 1973 and are true today, so this is deep in the Oberlin DNA: ethanol is NOT the recreational drug of choice by far// Greek is a submajor in Classics and not a social concept// off-campus activities? don't make me laugh, you're up at 2am? you're studying OR playing some stupid boardgame with friends and eating sugary cereal OR at a party at a one of the coops OR (and this is cliche but it's true) painting messages on the rocks. Sometimes FB is just not enough.