As a student who has been on the Athens campus a shorter time than the normal college academic, I have yet to distinguish which organizations are the most popular at Ohio University. My first assumption would be the Greek organizations, such as fraternities and sororities. While I have seen numerous flyers for these organizations, students are not pressured to be a part of them. The fastest way to make friends is to jump into a couple of organizations that you feel are interesting to you (they do not have to relate to your major) and volunteer for smaller groups within the team. Beginning with groups that you are already interested in will help students to branch into new networks without having to feel pressure to learn the entire history of an organization in two days. Finally there are some organizations that do require a level of academic experience prior to application. For example, some major related organizations require that students have been attending the University for 2-6 quarters before they can apply. This is because these organizations can have a highly intense introduction process, and do not want new freshman to risk academic standing because they are trying to adjust to a college lifstyle. While these requirements are mostly found in major-related organizations, it is wise to make sure that a student's schedule allows time for organizations. Joining a team is a big step because no matter how small your part in the team, you are a link that is relied upon to help perform the simplest of tasks and accomplish great things for your team. While it is exciting to reach out to others, make sure that you have the time to devote to an organization before you bite off more than you can chew.
Sororities and fraternities are popular on campus. I am involved in a fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega, which is a national co-ed community service fraternity. It is a GREAT organization to become involved with. If I were to be awake at 2am on a Tuesday, it would most likely be because I was just chatting with friends, watching TV, etc. In regards to events, OU is known for its annual Halloween party. In the springtime, OU has a "fest" almost every weekend, consisting of parties thrown on various streets off campus. The university also sponsors Dad's, Mom's, and Sib's weekends. Although fraternities and sororities are popular on campus, they really do not determine social standing whatsoever. Frankly, I believe many students who aren't involved in these social groups look down upon those who are. If you wanted to spend a Saturday night without alcohol, you could easily find something fun to do. There have been plenty of Saturdays where I've felt like I needed to "stay in." Usually my friends and I will order food and watch a movie and basically pig out and relax. Athens, the city in which OU resides, is a small town, but there are several things to do off campus. For example, there are two cinemas that play popular movies. In the summertime, OU students can use the Athens community swimming pool for free. There are also several major food chains and restaurants in the area.
I met my closest friends here on a freshmen trip called "New Adventures," a program run by Outdoor Pursuits where about 28 freshmen go on a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. Twenty-eight isn't a lot of people, so many people don't really even know about it, so I definitely consider myself lucky to have gone, because the trip was AMAZING and, having met a bunch of new friends, my first couple of quarters here were very fun. I've since met other people, but I still keep in contact with my Boundary Waters gang, and at least three of them remain some of my best friends here. My experience with dorm life has been so awesome. I live on South Green, which is in my opinion the best place to live, in a substance-free dorm called True House. You might think that because we're substance free we're a bunch of squares or something, but you'd be dead wrong - we have tons of fun, and trust me, we find other ways of getting into trouble besides smoking pot or whatever it is people do. But the cool thing about dorms on South are the "mod" set-ups, with a smaller number of people in the mod sharing a common room...it makes it seem so much more familial. My House has become home to me, and the people in it are my family away from home. If you want to know what I'm doing at two in the morning on a Tuesday, I'm probably hanging out with them.
Students in dorms often leave their doors open. We have some really good guest speakers including political ones, such as Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton. THere are a ton of concerts and really good plays also. THis year, Ron Jeremy was involved in a Porn debate here, and that was very popular with the students. There are definatly a lot of things that students are interested in, it's no longer high school where these taboo issues are covered up. I roomed with my best friend from high school, which turned out badly, i wouldn't recommend it, and now i moved in with someone who has become my best friend. I'm also friends with someone i met on the very first day of class fall quarter. I am usually awake until 2 am, i am not a morning person so i don't schedule early classes. I stay up late doing homework, reading, watching tv, movies, just hanging out. My earliest class has been at 10am. Some people party every day that they can, but some people never do. It all depends on who you hang out with and what your preferences are. Ping, the rec center, is a very popular place to be. There is a small bowling alley, a limited number of restaurants, the ice rink, swimming pool, bike path, movie theater, coffee shops, and a couple shops within walking distance. There is a walmart, and more restaurants in town if you can get a ride.
The most important event of the year at OU is Halloween. Each year, on the Saturday, the City of Athens throws the world's largest Halloween block party. We appear in The NY Times as well as our own local newspapers, The Post & The Athens Messenger. Court Street, the main uptown avenue, is closed to cars and becomes a stage-filled pedestrian wonderland, boasting a variety of local music groups, an annual Wiccan celebration & show on Halloween's origins, multiple food vendors, and events sponsored by national companies such as Budweiser. Many student organizations host events throughout the year, and trips. The Snowcats, our ski & snowboard club, has an annual trip that is increasingly popular. Athletic events remain forever important, particularly as we enjoy the success of one of the best football & men's basketball teams in the conference. Even our women's sports boast high attendance as they continue to be successful. Though Greek life is a part of OU campus life, most students aren't involved in sororities or fraternities. While the opportunity to join is there, and there are quite a few, I've never felt out of place because I didn't belong to one.
Most Popular Student Org: intramural sports. Students in their "residence halls" leave their doors open. It's an easy way to let your friends and neighbors know you're home, and it's a great way to meet new people. Athletic events. Students go. Could be better? Football- they leave after 1/2 time, once the band has played. Speakers, frequently unattended. Unless it's some big name. My closest friends were the people I lived with on my floor, and below. I only remained close with one person from high school. 2am on a Tuesday: I was NEVER up this late. I had 8am classes. Traditions: Halloween, bar "riots" during the time change, freshman march up Richland before school starts People party every day. More on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekends. It's college. It happens. Greek life isn't for everyone. It's okay. It's only about 11-12% of the student body. You know they're here, but they're not overbearring. Last weekend- my parents came down. We went to a movie and had breakfast at Jana's. Saturday nights: Midnight movies, Athena Grand, Ping, Billiards in Baker. Off campus: bowling and grocery shopping
I don't know about the most popular organizations on campus, but I am a lighting technician for the Lost Flamingo Company, the student-run theater group. We do 3-5 plays each quarter, and the community is great. I try to attend most of the plays, including the ones done by the school of theater, and my friends and I regularly go to lectures from guest speakers. Dorm life is also good. I found it very easy to make friends with the people in my building because of the common study room on our floor; everyone just congregated there the first week to hang out and we've been doing it ever since. It could just be luck, but many of the people on my floor have a similar major to mine and we all share many common interests, particularly writing. We watch movies and go on long walks on the weekends, but school is important to all of us (especially the scholarships that keep it affordable) and a lot of us take classes and study together. Partying depends on the people. I don't do it, and neither do my friends, but my roommate and his friends do. None of us hold any grudge against the other, we just don't hang out much on the weekends.
There's always something going on at OU. I never seem to be bored. Whether I'm visiting the Ecohouse with the Green Network, attending a concert, going to Shabbat services, cheering on my Bobcats at a football game, or just talking with some close friends at the Donkey Cafe or The Front Room, every experience here is exciting, engaging, and fun in some way. I don't always go out; sometimes I spend my weekends just watching movies with my friends. However, when I do go out, it's easy to find something to do and somewhere to enjoy myself and the company of my friends. But I'm not just talking about parties here; OU does a great job of offering its students shows, performances, guest speakers, you name it. Off campus, there's a lot of unique dining experiences that one can have because a lot of the restaurants, bars, and fast food places are locally owned.
I am involved in SDS, which is an awesome group of people just looking to make some changes on our campus. We've held protests and die-ins, and even a "Funk the War" dance party. I for one am not a drinker, and I don't party. I have an amazing group of friends and not of us party, we hang out together, watch movies, or go see a concert or play. On Friday nights we go up to Baker to go to Laughter After Dark, and also to see Bruce play beforehand. We chill at the Donkey a lot, it's my favorite coffee shop in town, and going to see Black Spyral Dancer is always a must. I met my friends in my dorm one night, they asked me if I wanted to play capture the flag, and it just went from there.
Common activities include going to sports events, like hockey, football and basketball games. Many students play intramural sports, like me, which are amazing. There are many political groups students can join as well as writing programs, which allow students to express themselves and make changes in the community. There is also Greek Life on our campus and I have friends who love being involved with their new brothers and sisters. Religious organizations are on our campus as well, such as "Reach Out on Campus" and "Campus Crusade for Christ." I am a new member of CRU and I absolutely love it. There are so many activities and groups to get involved with here! It's just wonderful.