There is a significant variety of extra curricular clubs/teams/groups on campus. What is nice though is that anyone can easily set up a club, get funding, and get started to explore any niche not yet met. The fact that I started up a parliamentary debate club this year is proof that you don't need an in depth knowledge of the inner workings of Student Government to get things done. The administration makes it clear and easy for any group/club to schedule, plan events, advertise, and get funded. One group that I'm involved with, which I think really reflects Occidental is SSAP (Scientific Scholars Achievement Program). Here I tutor/mentor students who are struggling in the Math and Sciences. Our program was created to help encourage those students (especially minorities) who are otherwise often intimidated in entry level courses into leaving the sciences entirely. We try to help brige the gap between professors and students to create a real community among the sciences. Occidental also has several large community outreach education programs in which many students go out and help high school and elementary students at local schools. One of the most popular traditions at Occidental is Dance Production. A large and diverse group of the student body gets together every year to put together a series of original as well as traditional dacnes to music. Nearly everyone in the school is involved as either spectators or dancers. Another Oxy tradition is the Sex on the Beach Party. Although toned down in recent years, it encourages all students to let loose in their best swim wear near the end of term. Nearly all students live on campus in the residence halls, and the environment in each hall varies considerably. Some halls are almost like a sanitarium, all the doors are closed and its silent (great for studying). Other halls seem as if there is only communal space as all doors are open and students are constantly mingling in and out of rooms and chatting in the hallways. Occidental is built into a hill, with most of the facillities near the bottom, so there is a significant geographic barrier between students who live in the upper campus versus the lower one. The Occidental Football Team consistently does well in SCIAC (our athletic league) and games draw a fair number of crowds. Our Water Polo team is also a large presence on campus academically as well as athletically. The volume of Guest speakers on campus is excellent as we have access to a large number of professionals being just inside the city limits of LA. Nearly every week each department hosts guest speakers (experts in their field); given the volume of speakers on campus, student participation in these events is high. In terms of dating, there is an old proverb that still holds true: 8 out of 10 girls are foxy, the rest go to Oxy. The Oxy dating scene (at least form the male perspective) is significantly less than ideal. There are still of plenty of ways to have fun though. There aren't frequently large parties on campus, but there are lots of small parties that go on in the dorms among groups of friends. Greek Life at Oxy is small. There are only a handful of fraternities and sororities at Occidental today (although there was a significant amount in the past). The nice thing though (especially if you have a car, or a friend that has one) is that you have LA at your feet. Although in a nice neighborhood, Occidental allows you access to the myriad of entertainment options that only LA can provide.
We have a Dance Production show in the spring that is one of the most popularly attended events on campus. Greek life is not a huge thing on campus, but there are 7 fraternity/sororities (I think?). They're not really typical greek associations though, in that it's not like there's a frat with a bunch of meat-heads who party all the time or a sorority with all the really wealthy, elite girls. I'm on the ultimate frisbee team, which is pretty low key, but we get to go to tournaments on a couple of weekends a year. For example, we went to Las Vegas, San Diego, and UCLA for tournaments this year. More people close their doors than leave them open, but people are friendly in the bathrooms and common rooms. Athletic events aren't a huge thing on campus, but the football and basketball games are probably most popular. We have a lot of guest speakers on campus that vary in a attendence. Chances are though, that there will be at least a couple of speakers each year that really interest you, if not more. There are plays put on at the end of each semester that I would say most of the student body attend. There are a good amount of couples on campus. Probably more people are into relationships than just hookups, but there's some of both. I met my closest friends either in my freshman dorm or through people I knew in my freshman dorm. Oxy had a program where all of the people in your freshman seminar class live in your dorm, so it was really easy to get to know people and do homework together. They don't do this program any more, because all of the freshman live togeth now, but that also makes it easy to meet people. If I'm awak at 2am on a Tuesday, I'm usually doing homework or trying to find a ride to go get some food. The most popular late-night snack around campus are the taco trucks down the street. There are 5 or 6 trucks that park on the side of the road from 7pm to 3am every night and they sell amazing, cheap mexican food. 21 Choices is also a popular snack place, but it closes at 11. Most people party 1-2 nights a week, generally on the weekends. On Friday and Saturday nights, you can almost always find a party to go to, but there's also tons of stuff to do, both off campus and on, that don't involve partying. For example, last weekend on Friday night I went to a movie and then got back and went to a party off campus with some friends, and then on Saturday I had an intramural soccer game, went to Medieval Times for a friends birthday, then went to a party for him that night. If you don't want to drink on a Saturday night, you can go to Old Town Pasadena to go shopping or out to dinner or to the movies, there are concerts both on and off campus a lot of the time, there are dances and events on campus, and there's always a lot going on in the LA area if you want to get off campus.
The more involved a student is, the more social networks are available to them. Realize though, this is by means a requirement, it just makes it easier to make friends when you're involved in many clubs, teams and organizations. Many students are athletes either with the college teams or intermural leagues. Everyone attends football games and a huge group support the men's basketball. Other traditional events that happen every year are: Homecoming Dance, Homecoming Game/weekend, Toga Party, Doctors and Nurses Party, Sex on the Beach Dance, Halloween Dance, Dance Production Performances, Apollo Night, and many others. They range from completely social dances and parties to awareness events highlighting things such as LGBTQ and womens issues. People party pretty consistently every weekend and Wednesday/Thursday night. There's usually parties going on every weekend. If not that, there are local bars that many students frequent. The Greek community makes up about 10% of the student body. It's by means a requirement to go Greek to preserve a social life but it provides another strong community for students to find comfort with. The Greek system at Oxy is unique to its campus. There are 3 local sororities, one of which is co-ed. These local sororities are only at Oxy and tend to abide by slightly different rules than national Greek organizations. There are 4 other national organizations (3 frats, 1 sorority). Other non-drinking events to do on the weekend include great night markets around LA, bowling and campus sponsored events. Off-campus there are great museums (LACMA, The Getty, etc.) and comedy places. There are also a bunch of salsa clubs that allow 18+.
There are a bunch of clubs on campus and you can always make your own too. Pretty boring... let's see dorm rooms are crazy and fun and always alive. Doors are left open and people go from room to room. The dating scene is funny, but not too serious when college first starts out... typical "hooking up" at parties and meeting a ton of different people is what it's all about at this stage in the game. My closest friends were my roommates in my quads that just sort of happened from meeting each other the first day of school and just sticking together. On a Tuesday at 2am I am trying to go to bed for an 8am class but the odds are one of the guys is trying to sneak into my room (the door is always unlocked) to try to use my microwave, which is not only loud but lights up, and once I am awake again I am forced to gossip and talk until I finally am too tired and HAVE to go to sleep for that class. People party every weekend if they're into it. I was into partying and was never really let down by a lack of partied because your friends are always right there with you to take some shots and chill in the dorm. Other theme parties and such are fun and sometimes thrown by the Oxy Programming Board and those are always fun as long as there is some pre-gaming involved, and there almost always is. If you don't drink you can: go out to dinner, watch movies, go to Santa Monica, go shopping in Glendale or Downtown Pasadena, get ice cream, go to farmer's market, or just hang out with friends which is as good as anything else already listed. Off campus the options are endless really, we're talking Eagle Rock/LA here.
I run track with the most amazing group of people and coaches ever. We really have a lot of fun (go out to dinner after practice regularly...make tie dye shirts before meets). It would be nice if more of the student body came to our meets but that is kind of the nature of the sport. Most people go to football and basketball games. My friend died his sideburns orange for a basketball game another friend wore a tiget outfit. I would say spirit is pretty strong and enthusiastic. Greek life is not that popular at Oxy. About 10% of students participate. I think they have a good time...social events and can food drives seem to be their regular gigs. If I was awake at 2 am I would most likely be in my friends room working or at taco truck getting some tasty food or...at the library. I remember when I was applying to schools I thought about whether I would be happy there or not more than about the academics. Oxy has rigorous academics (for the most part , there are some easier majors I hear) that involve writing a lot of papers and doing a lot of presentations. If you aren't into academics Oxy is not the school for you. There are a lot of resources for students, tutoring and such.
There are plenty of organisations on campus and all are very accessible. The Oxy Weekly is a great way to get involved on campus and stay updated about whats going on around campus. In most dorms students leave their doors open, in others, the doors close automatically, but it is never weird to simply knock on a door. Athletic events can be well-attended, but generally are relatively quiet. Big name guest speakers are very well-attended and often are talked about afterwords throughout the community. In terms of dating and close friendships at Oxy, it can often get messy because, since the school is so small, you are guaranteed to see whoever your trying to avoid when you go to the marketplace for breakfast. Meeting people is not hard at Oxy, but it takes a little while to find people you feel really comfortable with, but be friendly and it will happen. Frats and Sororities are a presence on campus, but not a big one and the scene is totally inclusive. Frat and Sorority parties are open to everyone and the vast majority of people who go are not greek.
There are tons of off campus houses that host parties every weekend. With the high percentage of upperclassmen living a few blocks off campus, there is a lot of opportunity to get off campus over the weekends to hang out even if you live in the dorms. While the "dances" at Oxy sound very middle school they are put on by students for various reasons and celebrations so it become more of a social gathering then boys and girls standing on different sides of a basket ball gym. Still, if dancing is not your thing, the offcampus parties are my personal favorite. There is always alcohol and music and there is never a "list" or people that are not allowed in, unlike many UC's that are dominated by fraternities. Also the offcampus parties are almost always within a block of the school, so no one ever has to drive and not drink if they don't want to.
I don't really think we have a social hierarchy here, and I've asked many people about this and they agree. The way I see it is: we have social circles, everyone has their inner circles (say their three closest friends) and then their larger circle that falls within (their dormitory or sorority or house), and then that circle may overlap and connect with other circles (the frat you may belong to, the sports team one of your inner circle friends plays for, etc). As such the social scene at Oxy becomes a social spectrum rather than a hierarchy. No one lies at a particular point of the spectrum but everyone has their spread and overlaps with many others. It's a small enough campus where you can eventually feel like you know everyone, but as a fairly socially active junior, I'm still meeting new people all the time.
There's a lot of Oxy pride to be had among the students, faculty, and outside community. Sports games (especially football) are huge and Oxy always works hard to put on fun events on and off campus. By the time you're a junior though, those activities can get old, so you go into downtown L.A. to have your fun. House parties are on every weekend, and many people make that their scene. Programing board, clubs and Greek organizations put on dances and events such as speakers, lectures, panels, improv, and various "explore L.A" options. The dating scene kind of blows to be honest. There are random hookups or serious relationships: no real dating goes on at Oxy.
Football and basketball teams most popular on campus. Students who can prop their doors usually leave them open in the dorms. Basketball/football games are most popular athletic events. Guest speakers are constant, and usually on very informative topics. Dating scene is ok, easy to find people because you know everyone. 2am on Tuesday I am studying. People party every weekend. Frats/sororities do exist, but none really have a good reputation. Off campus, there is a Farmer's Market every Friday, and plenty of shops and malls close. Dodger Stadium/Hollywood/Downtown LA/Staples Center/Old Town Pasadena/Rose Bowl all within 15 minutes.