Most Reedies aren't involved in student groups. The most popular or present groups on-campus are Rugby, frisbee, RKSK and theater. There are many speakers that come, but usually attendance is based on who is in the department. The dating scene is horrible. Since campus is so small, any relationship is bound to become incredibly serious very quickly, which often leads to crash and burn scenarios. The pathetic dating scene is illustrated by the extremely high percentage of Reedies who use OkCupid.The most popular event at Reed is Renn Fayre, a three day long party at the end of the year, epitomized by thesis parade (when seniors burn their first thesis drafts and the whole school gets drunk and makes out with). On weekends most people study for a lot of it, and go out on Saturday night (usually to a dance party or a house party.
Renn Fayre, fire dancing
First of all, if I'm awake on a Tuesday at 2 in the morning (and I almost always am), I'm probably doing a Latin translation.
Anyway, my personal social circle revolves around the Theatre, because that's where I spend a lot of my time. But I've found that Reedies are genuinely awesome people and I have friends from all over. From my dormies (freshman year and every year since) to my classmates to people I just liked the looks of, I've never felt like I didn't have someone to sit with or talk to.
Events I enjoy include any dance party (they're pretty common at Reed), house parties that are close to campus (also quite common), Drag Ball, Queer Prom, random and wonderful concerts (mostly by great local bands), all theatre performances (of course) and guest speakers.
It's true that Reed isn't a bastion of athletic prowess. However, there are a couple sports that a pretty popular here, and the people who play on those teams are quite serious about their sports. Ultimate Frisbee is the most popular (both men's and women's teams), followed by Rugby, basketball, soccer and lacrosse. All those teams compete with other schools in the area, so if that's something you're into...
No fraternities or sororities. Yeeeesssss!
The unofficial motto is atheism, free love, communism. I think that was more the Reed of the late '60s, or "olde Reed." Today's Reedies are still primarily athiests and left-leaning. Post-80s love just isn't free any more, no?
Ever heard of Renn Fair? Think drugs, a feast in the canyon, nudity and a slip 'n slide. Mix accordingly.
There is no Greek system at Reed beyond of Phi Beta Kappa. Thank God.
Reedies like to build things. Especially things involving combinations of bicycles and ratty couches. A Reed fantasy would involve adding a motor to above described contraption.
Reed social life is really hard to describe because there are so many niches I don't know about, which is interesting because there are only 1300 students. Hmm.
Let's start with the dating scene. There's an old saying about Reedies and romantic involvement: "If you sleep together, you're dating. If you sleep together for more than two weeks, you're in a relationship. And if you're with someone for a month, you're married." Obviously, this isn't exactly true, but it does indicate the brevity of most Reed relationships. Now, getting laid can be hard if you're not just a little bit slutty, and this applies no matter what gender you are. If you're really desperate, going to a dance party oughtta do the trick. Also, because Reedies are extremely socially awkward, hooking up rarely happens in the absence of alcohol. The exception to this is the "library relationship", which is what happens when mutual admiration goes beyond making bedroom eyes at the person sitting across the room at another desk in the library. These rarely come to fruition, however, because the two people involved are usually too damn awkward to say anything.
All of this awkardness (well, most of it anyway) disappears at Renn Fayre, which is a campus-wide explosion of substances and bodily fluids (both the good and the bad) beginning on the last day of classes. However, Renn Fayre is no fun unless you create a project. Develop an idea, fill out an application, get the money, and make cool shit happen.
Let's see, what else?
There are no fraternities or sororities. The closest thing to a frat we have are the rugby team and the ultimate frisbee team. The women's rugby team, named "Bad-ass Sparkle Princesses", is also more fraternity than sorority.
Reed parties are pretty cool. There is usually alcohol available, but no pressure to drink. There are sometimes other drugs, depending on who is in attendance. There's usually an off-campus party every other weekend, and there's something on campus every weekdend. The on-campus events are, with few exceptions, fucking awesome. Some of my favorites: Drag Ball, Masquerade Ball, Hum Play, Harvest Ball (Halloween), Daft Ball (Daft Punk dance party), and Dia de los Muertos. Queer Prom is pretty cool too. One notable exception to awesomeness is Winter Formal, which is just an excuse for freshmen to get laid. It was fun my freshmen year and fucking lame every year afterwards.
If you seek a party school, look elsewhere. If you seek inane, drunken conversations about your favorite show on MTV or how awesome it was to go to the mall and oh my god check out my makeup, Reed is not the place for you. You will be miserable. If however, you would love to debate (drunkenly or not) the merits of Piaget's Theory of Mind and its implications for childhood development while there's a keg in the next room, please come to Reed. We'd love to have you.
There's a party practically every weekend here. They usually wrap up by 1:00 a.m. People either hook up and go off to someone's dorm room or they go back home to study. Sometimes there's nothing to do if you don't do drugs.
Campus events are well funded. And when Reedies have an event, they make the most of it. From the first day of the school year, Reedies are looking towards the wonderful 3-day straight-party at the end of the school year called Renn Fayre. WE may spend most of the weekend studying, but for those hours we are not we make the most of. Residence Life works hard to create a tight community and succeeds, most make a few good friends on their floor during the first year.
Way too many drugs, but apart from that parties are very good, specially dorm parties with strange themes. People seem to take the dressing up thing too seriously.
It IS hard to balance activities, social life, and academia at Reed. But it is do-able. Sure, you have to be willing to take some late nights at the library, but so does everyone else. And I know there are those crazies who manage multiple activities and clubs. I don't know how they sleep....Myself, I've managed to do well in school and participate mainly only in theatre (which is actually a huge commitment) and still have enough downtime to have a close group of friends I can relax with. It's really not so bad if you're dedicated.
Reed has a lot of traditions. The biggest student group is RKSK. It is a joke communist organization designed to liven up campus. At the beginning of each year, RKSK organizes a noise parade. Kids dress up in costumes and body paint. There are torches and frequently a float or two. Mostly, everyone brings pots and pans to bang together and make as much noise as possible as we parade through campus. Freshmen who have not heard of the event hear us come through and frequently grab up metal objects to bang together and join the parade. It culminates in students launching fireworks and a bon fire in the quad. RKSK also organizes a stimulant table in the library lobby. Students volunteer to run the table in 12-24 hour shifts. They have a huge range of interesting stimulants for the adventurous. However, most students are so pressured to get stuff done during finals week that they rely on the tried and true coffee and PB&J sandwiches.
Most dorms have a lot of community. My closest friends were my freshman year dormies. People leave their doors unlocked and spend most of their time in the common room. There are two to three parties every weekend and about every other weekend there is a large event on campus. There is a lot of intermingling and dating among the freshmen. This dies down a bit later as people become more involved with their studies. About a quarter of my friends are in long-term relationships and the others date 2 to 3 people a year.
Multiple Reed houses (just off-campus housing) throw parties; it's an insular environment (<1400 student body population) so you get to know people fast (also depending on where you work in the library).
There are no football games, thank g-d. I hated that in high school, how glorified the brains-in-his-biceps dumb-jock mentality and the ditzy cheerleaders were. I am totally into adrenaline surges and competition in good spirits, but I think sports are much too revered in our culture (million dollar salaries for basketball and football players?!), and having sports take such prominence in college serves only to feed into this chest-beating Must Win frenzy. Homer's Iliad -- required reading in the required humanities course -- underscores how deep-seated this "timé" (honor/glory in Greek) is to our culture.
Rugby at Reed is amazing. Rugby parties are amazing. Pool Hall Formal is amazing. Dance parties take place in the Student Union several times per month. There are rockin' things to do around Portland, too, if you ever have time to get off campus.
If you're awake a 2am on a Tuesday, you're probably working. Reed does have extracurricular activities and plenty of groups and organizations, but the only thing the whole student body has in common is dedication to academia. Sporting event, while they do occur, are not campus wide events...many students couldn't care less.
Fraternities and sororities do not exist at Reed. Never have, and never will. So don't expect them. Both men's and women's rugby, I'd like to think, occupy that space in the hearts of the larger and less brittle of Reedies. Phys Ed is a graduation requirement that can be great for meeting people outside the familiar dorm / Hum class circle of friends, and does it in an atmosphere that is healthful and invigorating. More important for me, and I think many Reedies, than the rather vast and quite random selection of student organizations like Oh, For Christ's Sake or MLL, the comic book room, is Reed's collection of traditional "holidays" (from the true, holy origin of the word) and festivities.
Every year, each of Reed's five language houses (Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Chinese) hosts one or two campus-wide events (think Day of the Dead, Oktoberfest, Moon Festival), which give people a chance to show their creative foreign sides and other people a chance to bask in their inebriated, music-intoxicated atmospheres. The Noise Parade, one of two true Reed inspirings, when Reedies are at their most Reedie, happens twice a year, in full flamboyant glory, complete with stilt-walkers, fire-dancers, loud, costumed and face-painted pot-bangers, bonfires, and naked and paint-splattered young males. Drag Ball, Pool Hall Formal, and the Talking Heads dance party are some other traditional medicinals (good for anything from sexual frustration to breaking those study-hard blues).
The other most Reedie of all Reed days is, of course, Renn Fayre, a campus-wide private party in which anything and everything is not only possible, but funded, and funded well. Giant inflatable monkeys hanging from trees; the Hauser fun dome (aka library) camouflaged to look like a skull cave; an inflated pirate ship on the front lawn; one of those giant black glow boards where you put the colored plastic pegs in the little round holes and they light up; free pancake breakfasts; naked kids wearing only blue paint and howling war cries; the occasional zombie or something else; your best shoes permanently stained with champagne; colored Gnome Domes supported only by the heated air from the sidewalk vent and strewn with pillows; the Black House, with music, blacklights and pillows open until 4am every night; ubiquitous condoms and other pleasurable vices... in 3 words, relief, abandon, joy.
Social life at reed is, like many other universities, multifaceted. You can fall into any number of situations. You might find yourself sitting alone in your dorm and writing e-mails to the girl you left back home. If you leave your door open, your dormies might come in and drag you out for a beer, or just a game of Dance Dance Revolution. You might find yourself in the poolhall (highly recommended) where you will be continuously challenged to game after exhausting game of the best game in the world. You will be offered many a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon as it is our beer of choice. Learn to like it. It's not so bad and it's very cheap. If that's not your thing, you can hang out with the beer nation crowd or just a handful of Westcoast kids who appreciate a good microbrew. Happy, down at the seven-eleven on the corner, does not check ID's so very thoroughly and is a complete and utter sweetheart, even if she doesn't smile so often.
We have a dance party coalition. I have nothing to do with it and know very little of it but if you like the occasional rager filled with sweaty geeks in a small room listening to prince... it might be your thing. I undersell it... it's fun for those who like it. There is an annual talking heads dance party where we just play "stop making sense" in the SU and that's a damn good time, even if dance parties aren't your thing.
We have a lot of good events, if you want to bring a speaker or an artist to perform, you can get money for it. We allocate a shitton of cash to student interests and you just have to put yourself out there and grab it. This school is rich, if you want something, you can get it. You just have to ask hard enough.
We have no frats, no sororities and we're damn proud of it. That said, the rugby team is something like a frat.
House parties are commonly thrown by upper classmen. They're fun, but if you're an underclassman you might find yourself standing in a corner with other underclassmen. This is ok. Learn to love feeling awkward. Reed has a very awkward social scene and it will drive you crazy.
There are lots of amazing things that go on at Reed. Inquire for more info. Don't worry about the "dating scene" because no matter which college you go to, you'll find someone worth liking. Theater...wish it was better, but it isn't. There are too many organizations to list, and if you can't find one you're passionate about, its very easy to do your own. For example I was a track athlete in high school, and although Reed does not have a track team, I made one and was able to compete my freshman year at 5 meets. However the following years academics took over. If I was a smarter person I could probably do both (many people do) but I'm not and only one gets priority.
P.E. is a requirement at Reed, so some sports teams (particularly Ultimate Frisbee and Fencing) have a lot of enthuists, but the majority of Reedies aren't very enthusiastic about exercise. SEEDS and other organizations are volunteer programs through which Reedies can help the nearby Portland community. Mostly they involve working at nearby schools and community centers. The Commons or the cafeteria is a great place to meet new people! And don't forget to leave your leftovers with the Scroungers. Generally people don't party too often on weekdays since schoolwork is pretty important, but weekends are usually a blast! If partying isn't your thing, there are plenty of things to do that don't involve drinking and puking! There's the MLL with every single comic known to man, the Pool Hall which is a great place to meet people, and, if you're more of a reader, the Library is open pretty much 24-7.
Reed puts a lot of emphasis on the Reed community in its literature. Despite having an honor principle, which is a community code of ethics, there really is no Reed community. There are pockets of community which students have built for themselves, but they are largely outside of and in resistance to the Reed institution. But for the most part, Reed students are alienated, disconnected, and care more about spending a lot of time in the library than about taking care of themselves and each other. People complain about the degradation of the honor principle, but an honor principle is moot if there is no mass participation in creating a supportive and ethical community. Small communities exist that arise among people who are actively interested in supporting each other. My community at Reed consists of those people interested in sustainable cooperative living, particularly radical, queer, feminist and activist folks. Most of us live off-campus, and have lives and jobs in the larger Portland community. Most of us are engaged in some way in building alternatives to the Reed institution, through activism and organizing, alternative reading curricula, music, art, shared meals and so on.
Many of my friends I met through my dorm freshman year. Many of the rest were from classes, or from my ex-boyfriends dorm (the co-op). My off-campus house has several other off-campus houses with folks we hang out with a lot--mostly people who used to live in the co-op. If I'm awake at 2 am in the morning on a Tuesday, I'm almost definitely doing schoolwork. I found Argentine tango through our PE class here and go out dancing multiple times a week, so I have a lot of off-campus friends too. Athletic events aren't that popular, but you can certainly play frisbee or rugby or basketball if that's what you're into.
Weapons of Mass Distraction is our kick ass fire performance and circus arts troupe. We play with fire and own an aerial rig, because we are so bad ass.
The Dance Troupe is a cute opportunity for people who want more dance performance opportunity on campus to get some, and to choreograph, etc.
Athletic events? We have ultimate frizbee and rugby, men's and women's, and i've never gone. Guest speakers are generally very well attended, provided they have something interesting to say. Theater events sell out when it's Tom Stoppard but are otherwise not as well attended as they should be, considering how good they usually are.
Dating -- it's mostly either casual(or awkward) sex or crazy possessive time consuming monogamy.
"If you are awake at 2 am on a tuesday, what are you doing?" I'm awake at 3 am on a wednesday and I am doing this survey. I am pointedly *not* doing either of my two qualifying exams or either of the two research projects, all due within the next week.
Renn Fayre happens every spring, and it's amazing (but only if you go to Reed)
There is usually a dance party or some other event going on every weekend.
THERE ARE NO FRAT HOUSES OR SORORITIES.
Last weekend I went tango dancing at a club off campus, took a trapeze class, rehearsed my choreography with the Dance Troupe, and did my dance junior qualifying exam.
There's plenty to do without drinking. You can go dancing (tango, for instance), play pool, hang out with people and say "No thanks" like you have a mind of your own, you could stand outside of the dorm window of that chick you have a crush on with a boombox playing "In Your Eyes", or any other of the million things available.
Clubs on campus:
Rugby (men and women - closest thing we have to a Greek system), CAVE (carnivorous alternatives to vegan eating - they cook meat (and vegetables)), Greenboard (for all the environmentalists out there), Vox (for all those pro-choicers), Feminist student union...
Oh, I'm not involved in any groups - I smoke marijuana instead.
Dorm doors are open in some dorms, not in others. My freshmen dorm was tight, this is where I met all my best friends. And yes, the doors were always open.
Athletic events get no audience (basically), guest speakers can have moderate to heavy turnout (Dan Savage got a ridiculously full house), and the theatre performances usually run out of seating.
Dating... it happens. But think about the average socially awkward person, meeting another average socially awkward person - a lot of the time it is awkward. And so goes Reed dating. But seriously, it takes a lot of work to date here - it's often at the sacrifice of school work, friends, or sleep - but a lot of people do it.
Dating at Reed can go well, but if it goes badly it tends to be a complete disaster. There's no way to get away from your ex (especially if you've been dating someone in your dorm), and you'll keep seeing them with their new girlfriend/boyfriend. There's a fair amount of casual sex, which tends to be less awkward. Plus, no one will notice you doing the walk of shame the next day, because lots of Reedies dress weirdly and don't brush their hair on a regular basis.
The best part of Reed is Renn Fayre, which is a three-day party at the end of the year, before reading week and finals week. Renn Fayre begins when the seniors burn their thesis drafts. There's a parade, and other students spray the seniors with champagne. The next day there are fireworks and glow opera (this cannot be described; you have to experience it for yourself), and a giant feast. It's the culmination of an entire year's hard work, an orgiastic catharsis. It's amazing. It makes all those nights you spend working in the library until 2 AM worth it.
No one shows up for Reed social events. Some have made it into tradition status,and those draw crowds, but for the most part, Reedies (who live on campus anyways) hunker down in some god-forsaken spot and drink the night away. This is a weekend sport only. Weekdays the dorm halls are silent by midnight. People have work to do.
Most people work very hard, and when they're not working they're partying or trying to sleep. Theatre is popular, however, and so are the extracurricular music opportunities. A lot of people take private lessons and play in the orchestra or sing in choir. I do both the latter two.
There are no fraternities or sororities, thank god.
You can always find a party if you want one, and they vary in kind--some are loud, some are wild, some are very chill. Generally, people are not looked down on for living quietly, though. I frequently find that by the time Friday rolls around, after a week of high-pressure academic work, I just want to sleep, or smoke a bowl or two with friends and just talk or listen to music and chill.
One thing that makes me very very happy about Reed is the sincere love of people for others' minds. When they say "free love" they really mean that your ideas are more important than your physical attributes. I didn't expect to be a desirable quantity, but I dress intriguingly, I guess, and speak my mind. That's been attracted. I didn't expect one man, but at one point I was fending off three. Glasses-wearing, makeup-less, plump, smart, long-skirt-wearing girls unite! There are men for you here!
Reed is the best 6th grade social experience $48,000 can buy.
Dance parties are really common, but are normally basically just the same party over and over again with the same people and music and places. The arts aren't great at Reed. The dating scene is alright, but since everyone knows everyone already, it's sort of small, it'd probably be best to date off campus (especially if you're gay and/or picky). There's normally lots of events that aren't focused around drinking/drugs, but there's still a lot of drinking.
My dorm is a little on the antisocial side. There's usually a few people in the common room, but the dorm architecture is just naturally antisocial. The doors close automatically and people usually stay in their rooms if they're not at the library.
Many guest speakers visit the campus to discuss politically or culturally salient issues but on weekends, parties and student organized events prevail. Frats are nonexistent. The dating scene is similarly nonexistent...hook-ups dominate. There is a relatively sizable community of sub-free students...these are, however, in the minority. The student-run radio station is a popular endeavor.
There is so much you can do. You can do drugs. You can not do drugs. You won't be judged either way. Dancing is fun. Everyone does it. That may be the only thing you are peer pressured into doing.
Sometimes social life takes a hit because of academics. You will notice that there are def a few weekends in the (about) 16 week long semesters where no parties are happening and the night life is generally dead. Luckily this only happens at times when EVERYONE feels swamped with work. Otherwise, there is always a house having a party, a dance party in the SU, or a party in pool hall.
Reed spends prodigious amounts of money on cool shit for students, and the student body has an enormous discretionary fund. As a result, there are fascinating speakers, hip concerts, intense dance parties, and free off-campus trips every weekend. The school also subsidizes tickets to major concerts in town. Last year the school paid for me to go rock climbing five times, skiing four times, surfing once, and I don't remember how many other awesome off-campus trips.
Most popular club: RKSK or Reed Kollege Shit Kollectiv. I always leave my door unlocked. I am probably the biggest sports fan and I've attended 4 soccer games and 2 rugby games only because I am friends with the English kids on each of them, and my dorm is right next to the field. No one watches the sports games. No one. If I am NOT awake on a Tuesday, then something weird is going on. Traditional events are big at Reed and are totally better than any other school. They include: Noise Parade, O-week, Hum Play, and most notably RENN FAYRE. There are no frats/sororities, thank god. A Saturday night without drinking is spent at the library or sleeping? Off campus I go to shows, shopping at thrift stores, go out to dinner, and go on bike rides.
Reedies have a social life, but it takes a back seat to their studies. Which is not to say we don't have one. It's just that it is not that noticeable.
Many students are involved in politics, music, theatre, etc. Reed is located near several nice neighborhoods that are safe to take dates, and have an interesting blend of restaurants and entertainment. A fantastic public transportation system offers great mobility.
No fraternities or sororities. No major jocks because we have no sport program. (We do have a mandatory physical education program however, and a full-service Sports Center).
Lecturers visit the ares frequently, and I have personally seen Stephen Pinker and Richard Dawkins in town. Reed itself has hosted well-known intellectuals and political leaders as well.
The most popular group on campus is RKSK, the Reed Kommunal Shit Kollektors. I can't say I know much about them, or notice their presence in any useful way on campus. Various feminist groups, safe sex groups, environmental groups exist on campus too. Different dorms have different cultures in that some foster community (one named Foster does actually), while others will leave you feeling lonely. Athletic events are few and sparsely attended. Parties occur, along with events put on by the language houses and other groups like the Queer Alliance, Fetish Club, etc.
But you could easily do nothing but study all year here.
The best events on Reed campus (in my opinion):
1- the hip-hop collective hosts and 5v5 b-boy b-girl breakdance battle every fall.
2- the talking heads stop making sense dance party: the live concert is projected on a large screen in the Student Union and everyone dances like they're at the concert.
3- Reed Arts Week (RAW). Artist lectures galore, art projects both student and artist made everywhere on campus, and the masquerade ball.
4- Thesis parade (and renn fayre)- The best part of renn fayre is that it's a weekend where everyone can put off school work because reading week follows. Everyone has time to finally hang out and celebrate the end of an epic year. Thesis parade is the best part, its' the energetic explosion of allthe pent-up excitement for renn fayre, and there's loads of champaign, so wear your goggles.
We have a lot of traditions... noise parade, renn faire, hum play, glow opera, fetish ball, harvest ball, reed arts week... and within these traditions there are traditions, and there is a dance (or 4 or 5) every single weekend. Drinking is not required to enjoy any of these things, and there are even more traditions surrounding alocohol but I don't know as much about that. There are really great guest speakers, a lot of student groups for activism, of just for free ice cream. Food is incredibly abundant. People give left overs to "scroungers" in the cafeteria and several student groups are mostly based on food and other free stuff for students/fun stuff for students all the time. It's awesome.
RKSK, ethnic/religious groups, socially-/politically-minded groups, motorized couch collective, poi (fire dancing) are all popular. also any group that provides the student body with free food (e.g., ladie's pie society, bagels and schmear, CAVE (pro-meat group), fire on the mountain (wings), and the gentleman's ice cream collective thing).
students do leave their dorms open, their stuff out in the open--even valuables. sometimes computers and i-pods and other stuff only morons would leave out in public get stolen, but the honor principle speaks pretty powerfully in terms of respect for others' possessions and for creating a safe, trusting community. if there is the potential to cause harm to another person, just DON"T.
athletic events are not popular. unless they are the drink-ups that occur pre- and post-rugby match. theater productions are popular and plentiful, as well as other random performances (like the regional break dancing competition we host every year or the sex worker's art show, to name a couple of favorites). guest lecturers are usually well-received, too, though it varies--Dan Savage and Dr. Demento are recent favorites.
guh, dating. mostly in 3 camps: 1. in a serious monogamous relationship that just happened; 2. polyamory (meaning "free love," '60s style); 3. or not much--there are not a lot of just dates.
i met my closest friend in the dorms, and my other good friends on a class trip. meeting people here can be hard sometimes.
awake at 2 AM on a tuesday, you're in the library frantically trying to finish your reading before campus security bounces you from the building when it closes at 2:15.
how often people party: seasonally. more partying occurs when the weather is nicer, and then it is pretty frequent. during the rainy, bleak months, less so. i think 40's night may have disbanded, but used to be celebrated every wednesday night in the quad with many 40 oz. cans of cheap beer and even worse malt liquor. generally speaking, the mental exhaustion caused by work practically necessitates fostering a corresponding chemical/party exhaustion.
"greek" at reed means only "athenian" or "spartan."
last weekend i went to a few reed arts week exhibits and lectures by artists like paper rad and cat chow, stopped by masquerade ball, worked the saturday night bookstore shift til 3 am, and spent sunday sleeping/working/eating.
there are actually lots of great events on weekends sponsored by all sorts of different groups. the grey fund (an endowment left to the school by the lat betty grey specifically and only for purposes of fun) not only hosts cool outdoors and cultural trips throughout the semester (chocolate tours, kayaking the columbia river, china town eastern medicine tours), but also hosts bands, speakers, workshops, film screenings, etc., all of which are substance-free. as open as the drug scene is here, it's plenty easy to avoid--a lot of people here spend their weekends without chemical enhancements of any kind, with the exception of caffeine. and then there's always just renting movies, going to a show, or doing something in portland. getting out of the reed bubble.
wait, off campus? there's a world "off campus"? in other words, getting off campus is important, even if it's just to get groceries, dinner, or walk around. learn the bus system, use the bus system, love the bus system (even though portland's trimet public transportation kinda sucks).
When there isn't an event going on in the student union on a weekend night, campus can be pretty deserted. Younger students tend to bond with people in their dorms, and older students tend to live off campus and stay off campus when they aren't in class or in the library. Dating at Reed is pretty much nonexistent. People are basically in a relationship or single. It's a bit of a mystery how they go from one state to another, but it happens suddenly.
Studying is prioritized over all else at reed. The library is literally the social center of campus during most of the week. Student groups/organizations and clubs exist, but students I find have difficulty committing to them because of the strong academic work-oriented environment and culture at reed. Most activities and non-academic things take a second-place seat.
The social life isn't very good.
Rugby and squash are the only sports, rugby usually has a party afterwards, so people enjoy a party will go to a rubgy party, if it's not too "jock" for them. Guest speakers are great, but not usually high Q-score recognizable people. I met my close friends in my freshman dorm, on the rugby team, and through other friends.
If it's 2AM on a Tuesday and you're awake, you're writing a paper, or you can't sleep because you drank a lot of coffee while studying, or you're the Night Bus driver or working in the library.
"Traditions": Renn Fayre and the Thesis Parade, Halloween, Winter and Spring Formals, Dustbin Party. People party at the big parties and spend the rest of the time in the library. Sometimes good bands play, depending on who is on the Social Affairs Board.
No fraternities or sororities. Lots of great stuff off campus, movies and pizza at the Bagdad Theater for cheap, good food at various restaurants, good places to see music.
Then there are various things that people come up with like guerilla theater, Nitrogen day, chunk bikes, etc.
Drum circle is kinda cool.
A pleasing lack of emphasis on sport. yet if you want to be active there is loads of choice.
really excellent events on campus- Dragball, Fetishball and others. Always a buzzing party scene.
Dating scene.....hmmmmmm. The generally high level of social awkwardness made this a bit of a problem. All of the tension, sexual and otherwise gets, usually gets released at Renn Fayre.
Reed has an incredible and amusing array of traditions. We kick off each year with a Noise Parade, which basically means that we get together, often dressed in masks, or only paint, and parade around campus, making noise however we can, banging on pots and pans, playing trumpets and bagpipes, and, well, riding bikes that have been lit on fire. Then we convene in the quad and have a massive, tribal dance party, with a Reed-historical-allegorically-charged play.
There's also HumPlay, which occurs near the end of the spring semester each year. This "play" is purportedly a review session for the Humanities 110 (the class that all freshmen must take, on ancient Greece and Rome), and it is filled with raunchy humour, much nudity, and inspires much drunk, ever-so-nerdy bonding. Because we're in a room filled with pretty much the only other people on the planet who are going to get these jokes. And think they're funny. And for that, we're very lucky.
Finally, there's the big one: Renn Fayre. Three days of school-sponsored bacchanalia, replete with thesis-burning, costume-wearing, crazy dancing, fireworks, a bug-eating contest, and a Glow Opera (wherein players outfitted in glowstick costumes perform in the dark to the amusement of students both under and "over" the influence). This weekend brings us all together to celebrate a successful year, to lay in the sun together without work hanging over our heads, to congratulate our graduating seniors, and to dance our asses off. It's basically our very own mini-Burning Man. It is, I think, one of the last places where people still party like that, without Dead shows or a decent Woodstock, we manage to recapture that spirit of celebration and camaraderie.
The week is for working, the weekend is for everything else. Off-campus parties are generally the best, though there are some rockin' events on-campus at times (see Stop Making Sense dance party). There aren't any frats or anything, thank god we don't need them to put together a good time. There's always something happening if you want; you just need a web of friends extensive enough to represent the puny Reed community to find out about them. There are also lots of performance events by students: a couple of improv comedy groups, some bands, a lot of theater that students do for classes. Something for everyone.
Reed does an excellent job of funding student bodies around campus to give back to the community. Reed will give you money if you want it to bake cookies to pass out for free.
I'll just say now that one of my favorite things on campus is the MLLL (pronounced mill), or the Comic Book Reading Room. Which is basically a room filled with thousands of comic books and graphic novels. Any student can go in and read whenever they like (though nothing may leave the room). Even if you don't read comics now, you should read Transmetropolitan and Sandman (both are available for your viewing pleasure).
CAVE, or Carnivorous Alternative to Vegetarian Eating, often provides free meat (burgers, ribs, etc.) at events around campus. Bagels and Shmear passes out free bagels. There are free cookies. Free ice cream. There's an apothecary with herbs and teas and spices on campus, all funded by Reed. There is so much you can get involved with, so much you can do around campus if you want to.
Students do leave dorm doors open or unlocked. Again, at the beginning of the year, most people form groups with their dorm floor. It's easy to make friends here.
Eh, not many athletic events and there's rarely school-wide hype.
Guest speakers are awesome. Gray Fund is rather good at bringing people on campus that students find interesting. Last semester, Dan Savage spoke and I'm told that Cory Doctorow from BoingBoing spoke a year or two ago as well. Soon, Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret, will be speaking. Also, Kaul Auditorium on campus often hosts many classical musical performances. Students also give performances in the chapel occasionally.
Reedies...are weird about dating becaues of how much time we spend studying. There's a lot of casual sex and there are people who have extremely close relationships, but not much 'dating'.
Paideia happens at the end of winter break, a week before classes start. Students organize and teach their own classes on a wide variety of subjects. This year, there were classes on programming, a couple D&D campaigns, curry cooking, crafts, auto-repair, how to use the print shop, journaling, and the traditional underwater basket-weaving. It's great fun and a good way to ease back into Reed after a long break. Incidentally, winter break is incredibly long. This year, it lasted from December 14-January 28th.
At the end of the year is Renn Fayre, which is nothing like a traditional Renaissance Fair. Basically, it's a huge celebration at the end of the year which results from the inevitable build up of stress. Reedies couldn't work as hard as they do without Renn Fayre at the end of the year. It's like a reward, for making it through the year. Each year, there is a theme around which people create projects. For example, the theme one year was Neverland and the Blue Bridge on campus was turned into a giant crocodile that you could walk through. Art installations, drugs, softball, revelry and so much more characterize Renn Fayre.
There's usually a party going on every weekend, but rarely anything on school nights. They rarely get very wild or out of hand.
There are no frats. No Greek life at Reed. Social life is more inclusive than exclusive here, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Last weekend I read comic books in the MLLL, did some homework, grabbed some Voodoo Donuts, visited Powells Books and walked around downtown with friends.
Depending on your friends, you can do a lot on a Saturday night without drinking. You can stay inside and watch a movie, go downtown, go out to eat, read in the MLLL, study, party, etc. If your friends just want to get drunk, then I guess you're out of luck for social things.
Students always leave their doors open. The honor principle rules over everything. I met most of my friends in my dorm, in class, and through other people. Networking is easy at such a small school. Athletic events aren't very popular, but we have a huge bike culture here. Guest speakers are popular depending on the guest. This is expected. The dating scene is silly, because the people are awkward. But everyone is really nice and generally gets along. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I'm most likely working on homework. Otherwise I'd be asleep. We have Renn Fayre (campus-wide party), RAW, various improv groups' shows, concerts by students. We don't have fraternities or sororities and it makes the environment SO chill and easy. Parties are more focused on dancing than drinking, although people do drink a fair amount. If I'm not drinking on the weekend, I'm generally watching a movie or downtown with friends. Last weekend I partied and did homework. We generally go to thrift stores or restaurants or movies off campus.
The RKSK, or Reed Kommunal Shit Kollective, is one of the most active student organizations on campus. They give away free food, they supply crappy kid's bikes for people to use around campus, and there is even a kommie wheel chair that floats around campus. There are very few athletic events, but there are tons of guest speakers and interesting lectures. There are political science lectures nearly every week. The dating scene is kind of strange. Most people come to Reed because they're entirely awkward while feeling hip for being so, but this can create some of the weirdest dating scenarios ever experienced. It also makes it really fun. There aren't any sororities or fraternities, but there are parties every weekend. Whether student organization run, at an off-campus student's house, or at a dorm that just felt like having a party, there is always somewhere to go on the weekends. There are dance parties in the student union with themes like "American Apparel: Tight and Bright." If you're not drinking, the dance parties are always fun, the pool hall is always open, and the Gray Fund sponsors things like movie showings. Reed is only 15 minutes away from downtown Portland by $1.75 bus, so if you need to get off campus to escape the Reed bubble, it's not hard. There are parks, concerts, shopping, movies, art galleries, quirky restaurants...anything.
Renn Fayre is amazing. It's a three day party at the end of Spring Semester for the seniors. It kicks off with Thesis Parade, where all of the seniors burn their thesis drafts and march to Eliot to turn in their senior theses. It is truly an awesome sight. So much champagne is poured on them. There's music for the whole three day period, an academic department softball tournament, fireworks and glow opera. you won't really understand it until you spend a year here.
A popular group is Carbon Atoms, which is a DJ group that throws popular dance parties with good music. Groups that offer free food (like pies, bagels, icecream) are very popular. I'm a member of Dance Troupe, a dance team run by students only. We meet once a week to practice dancing and make choreographies, which we then perform at the Dance Concerts held at our school. We always get good feedback about our work. I met my closest friends through a friend of mine who lived on my floor my freshman year, and who noticed I didn't have any friends, so he introduced me to his. The dating scene isn't very good; it's hard to find people, and Reed couples are always marked as being awkward. They tend to spend time only with each other and drift away from any friends they have. Most people are single and unable to find what they are looking for here. We have no fraternities and sororities! People party usually on Friday and/or Saturday nights, but as one gets older one spends more of that time in the library, working. Last weekend I went to a Mustache Formal, where people who had had mustaches for Mustache Month shaved them off while dressed formally. Activities that don't involve drinking include going to dances, the pool hall, movie showings, out on the town to see movies or shows. Off campus I go shopping for food/clothes, and to eat at restaurants.
I don't know what the most popular groups/organizations/clubs/teams on campus are, but our only real team sports are Rugby and Ultimate Frisbee both of which are fairly popular. There are plenty of groups etc. for people to be a part of and they all seem fairly equally popular. I played Rugby last year, having no previous experience, and it was SO much fun. I just don't have the time this year. I'm not really involved in any other groups per say, but last year during Renn Fayre I helped Beer Nation sell tickets to the beer tent, and got a free t-shirt and free beer. That was pretty sweet too. Events are pretty popular, and sometimes people from the Portland area come to our events so events are usually pretty packed but not ever too packed. I met my closest friends mostly from living with them Freshman year, most of my friends are previous dormies. Although I do have a few friends who I've had classes with, or met through other friends. If I am awake at 2am on a Tuesday I am studying or taking a break from studying. Traditions/events that happen each year, sporadically the Doyle Owl shows up (not necessarily every year) and people go CRAZY and then it ends up in the possession of someone else. Renn Fayre is the other major event that happens at the end of the year. I can't even begin to explain Renn Fayre, except to say that it's the celebration of the seniors finishing their thesis and that the year is over. There are NO fraternities/sororities. Last weekend I studied, and went out and about in Portland-something I rarely do. There's usually plenty of school events and/or student events that don't involve drinking or that do (obviously not the school events unless you're over 21).
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