Well, as the loudest groups are the ones which are heard, Greek life groups would have to be the most popular ones on campus. There is a tradition of painting on a big rock in the center of campus to advertise events, and most events splashed on the rock are those of Greek organizations. With Pepperdine's dry campus, Greek life mainly revolves around philanthropy rather than partying. Popular events are Pie with the Pi Phis, where students pay to throw a pie in the face of a Pi Phi to raise donations for the girls' causes, and the Crescent Classic Gamma Games, where sororities raise funds through a day of competitive games. One of the best-known groups is PIT, the Pepperdine Improv Troupe, who perform their improvised antics several times per semester. Other groups with high visibility include the College Libertarians, who post a Free Speech wall for all to write upon once a semester. They are known to be the Socrates of Pepperdine, the "gadfly on the rump" so to speak, pestering conservatives with their idealistic views. Meanwhile The Face of Microfinance gains moderate visibility on campus by selling trinkets made by communities in developing countries to raise money for micro finance loans. Groups which are less overt are the Native American Student Organization and the Grammar Gang, the latter being a group who slinks around campus correcting grammar blunders on flyers and posters. I am involved in the student-run campus newspaper, the Graphic, for which I have served as journalist, photographer, and photo editor, and am a member of We Art Aware, a club which calls attention to social issues through art and creativity. I am a part of the Grammar Gang crew, and have acted in comedy sketches for the Randumb Show, Pepperdine's longest running TV show, through which students have produced absurdist comedy featured on CNN and Ashton Kutcher's twitter. I have been the international news writer for Pepperdine's bi-weekly live news broadcast, NewsWaves, and am employed by the theater department to help build their sets. One with varying interests has a lot of options to get involved--all it takes is wondering who does what and finding out if they could use your help to do it. Despite all the groups and their events, the dating scene at Pepperdine is dismal. There is this pressure to find "the one" compounded by the sad truth that most everyone will know if your relationship has failed, as you walk past the same people nearly every single day. So most boys and girls avoid frivolous relationships, holding out to invest in that special someone. When any meaningless hookups do happen, the campus turns a blind eye to these rare sightings. Instead, the phrase "ring by spring" haunts Pepperdine's halls, taunting upperclassmen on the ins or outs of a relationship that marriage could be on their horizon. To shift gears: Things that don't involve drinking are watching movies, which is actually guy-code for "is this a date?". I have only been to one Pepperdine party in two years. It was awful and everyone that was there pretended the raunchy dancing didn't ever happen come Monday. At 2am on a Tuesday: I am staring at a computer screen writing a fictional story. My closest friends are the ones I can never remember how I met, although they are people who keep me on my toes. Without this largely "interesting" experience at Pepperdine, I am unsure whether I would be as driven, spiritual, or open-minded of a person as I am today.
Freshman housing at Pepperdine is awesome; you live in a suite of 8-10 within a dorm of about 50 residents, plus two RA's and an SLA (Spiritual Life Advisor). Your suite basically becomes your family, since you share a bathroom and common area with them. Pepperdine encourages incoming students to choose roommates through Facebook and other online profiles, which allows each freshman to find a good match. My whole suite chose each other, and we've all gotten along quite well; I'd recommend it to anyone. Greek Life is popular, but since it's a dry campus and there's no official Greek housing, the system works very differently from other schools. There's less focus on partying and more focus on philanthropies, although some fraternities and sororities tend to be more party-oriented. Parties usually take place in students' off-campus houses, plus various bars and restaurants around Malibu. The party scene isn't too hard to find if you seek it out, but it's easy to avoid if it isn't your style. Unlike many colleges, the balance between alcoholic and non-alcoholic events is very even, so you'll never feel pressured one way or another. The dating scene at Pepperdine is notoriously strange. Nobody really hooks up, since it's a small school and you're almost guaranteed to see the person around, and casual dating isn't very common either. The "Ring by Spring" is a very real thing here, so many students hesitate to exclusively date in fear that they'll end up engaged. Another theory is that Pepperdine men have trouble choosing between all the gorgeous women around campus!
There are many different types of groups or organizations you can get involved with, whether it be the greek life or a club I really recommend something to connect you with other students. Athletes tend to stick to their teammates, but you will know a lot of them which makes it fun to watch their games. Obviously some sports have a bigger following than others. I honestly wish more people went to the athletic events because we have some very talented teams. I am in a sorority and I love it. I thought I would hate it, but the greek life at Pepperdine is very different than everywhere else. It is very laid back and just gets you much more involved with the social scene. I actually met most of my best friends the first week of school in NSO, while the rest of my best friends are mostly from my sorority. The dating scene is interesting, I feel like a lot of people start dating right away or date people from other schools. The older you get, relationships start to form more often. If I'm awake on a Tuesday night at 2 a.m. I am probably driving through jack in the box after a night at the Malibu Inn. People party more than you would assume at Pepperdine. But it definitely has less options than other schools. It is not a bar school like other towns. It is mostly house or fraternity parties. But there are definitely a good number of people that would rather not drink and enjoy a night out in Santa Monica walking around the pier or promenade. You could go out for a night in LA or just to see a movie in Malibu if you aren't into drinking.
Sororities and fraternities are fairly popular. They're a really big deal for the people in them, and not at all a big deal for those who aren't. Other than that there aren't a lot of active clubs on campus. Honestly, its pretty boring. Most people go out on weekends because there's much more to do in Santa Monica and LA or the beach. In the standard suites, there have been some instances of robbery. However, my roommate and I leave our door unlocked and sometimes open when we're in it. There isn't a lot of casual dating here. Most people are either single or in relationships. There are quite a few engaged couples, and a lot of people get married at the end of senior year. That's because Pepperdine is a conservative Christian school. My closest friends are my suitemates from freshman year. We were lucky and got along wonderfully, but its generally not the case. However, even if you don't get along with your suitemates, almost everyone finds a group of people on campus that they fit in with. There used to be a great tradition of streaking every finals week. Sadly, this year the administration sent out an e-mail politely asking people to refrain. Lots of people don't drink. Most people don't drink on campus, because Pepperdine is theoretically dry. People don't throw parties on campus because the school is pretty strict about that. They go off campus the drink. People go to the beach all the time. Santa Monica is great for shopping, eating, and people watching. Los Angeles is even better for all of the above.
My favorite part.... There's athletic events and theater events. Although its not a huge part of social life because of lack of a football team. Social life is there if you want it. Parties are generally controlled by the Lacrosse, Waterpolo, and fraternities (usually the one that parties the most - right now Beta). The only thing you have to worry about is coming back on campus drunk. Don't let campus security see you and do not drive drunk, of course for safety reasons but also because chances are you'll get caught and they're strict). The good part.. there's a lot of people with houses off-campus and its usually a quick walk to your dorm as long as you have a DD to get you back on campus. Opposite sex has to be out of your room by 1, out of the dorm by 2.. but there's no curfew and most RA's don't check up on you too often... mine didn't at all. Like I said.... not much to do in Malibu besides party. Either go to the beach, stay on campus and do stuff, or drive to Santa Monica. Good thing about SoCal is that you can drive to a lot of fun places, both for clean entertainment or partying.
By far the most popular student activity at Pepperdine is the study abroad program. During your sophomore year, about 70% of your classmates will travel to one of Pepperdine's six international campuses and spend their year in London, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, London, Florence Italy, Heidelberg Germany, or Laussane Switzerland. Pepperdine is one of the highest ranked colleges for study abroad programs, and while a year abroad can be expensive, it is completely and 100% worth it. Greek life at Pepperdine is deceptively popular--only about 30% of students are Greek, but because Pepperdine is a smaller school and because of the type of people who tend to rush, Greek life seems to be much more prevalent than it actually is. Pepperdine is a dry campus, which means alcohol is not allowed, and there is a zero tolerance policy in place. There are plenty of places to party off-campus, and if you want to party you will have no trouble finding one to go to, but if you prefer (or need) to stay in and study, campus is usually fairly quiet in the evenings.
Most students from bigger state schools would say that Pepperdine has kind of a boring social life. Usually freshman year without a car is that way. Campus is very dull at night and its hard to get anywhere off campus. Joining a fraternity or sorority gains you access to many parties and activities, and so those who are looking to do more partying should join Greek life. Tuesday nights are a big party night arounde Pepperdine because convocation on Wednesday prevents students from having class until 11. The Malibu Inn and Spimone's are two popular destinations for students who are looking to drink, especially those who live off campus. Other than that Pepperdine offers little things to do now and then. Occasionally plays will be on or Pepperdine will hold a movie night every Thursday. Speakers come along every now and then as well, but they are not heavily advertised so you do not here about them much. For the most part social life is off campus, so look to make friends with upperclassmen or join Greek life to go out to party.
First off, Pepperdine is a dry campus, so partying on campus doesn't happen. Further, Malibu regulates the number of people that can live in a house, so none of the frats or sororities have houses. As such, most students who wanna party over the weekend (or anytime) head over to USC or UCLA, both of which are within 45 minutes away. Students who don't drink may be found at one of the theater performances on campus, a concert somewhere in Hollywood, or the beach (which is amazing on a warm night). Getting some studying in isn't usually a bad idea, either. Speaking of Geek life, probably about 1/3 of the students are involved. However, because there is no housing and because Pepperdine is extremely strict on underage drinking, they have only some resemblence to the stereotypical Greek groups. The dating scene is okay. There are a lot of "college marriages," but there are definitely hookups as well. Guys, if you're gonna take your girl out, make sure you've got cash to spare, because most places aren't cheap.
The most popular organizations on campus are the sororities and fraternities, though it is not as necessary to join one as at other schools. Pepperdine is such a small school that you can be friends with people from several different sororities/fraternities without actually being hooked into Greek life. The main advantage of joining one is the number of activities they provide. In a conservative school in an not-very-happening town, they provide most of the outlets for fun (with the exception of the church group, which also provides some activities). Outside of these activities, most of the fun is fairly low-key, perhaps limited to dorm activities. Unfortunately, as I said before, there is not much to do in Malibu, so you are forced to go a long way for reasonably-priced shopping or movie theaters or clubs. Moreover, Pepperdine is a dry campus and this is definitely enforced. So if you plan on drinking, you have to do it off-campus or better yet, not at all.
The basketball team is by far the most popular team on campus. There is a big celebration during the fall semester to kick off the season. Students in many dorms leave their dorms open. Theater events are typically popular, sometimes more so than the sporting events. The dating scene here is pretty good, especially if you're a guy (quite the favorable guy to girl ratio at Pepperdine). If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday I'm probably doing a paper that is due at 2pm on Tuesday. People like to spend their weekends having fun, going to movies or clubs in Hollywood at night and hitting the beach during the day. Fraternities and sororities throw a good deal of event throughout the year, but there are only 4 fraternities and 7 sororities and they are definitely not your typical greeks (there aren't any greek houses on campus).