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Smith College

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What are the most popular student activities/groups?

I am a member of the cross country team, and served as captain for two years. Our team is very close! We eat together, we workout together, we spend much of the weekend together, and we are usually together outside of practice hours either watching movies or studying. We have a very close relationship because we workout very hard during the weak and are a great support system when workouts and school work becomes difficult. I loved being a part of the team and enjoyed being involved with the community of athletes on the campus. Through cross country, I was able to become involved in the Athletic Association and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. Yet I was also involved in other groups on campus. During my sophomore year, I was our house social chair and was involved in planning house events. I also have become increasingly involved in the Smith Democrats organization on campus, where I have participated and organized many events for the Barack Obama campaign. I have been able to be involved in many different groups and have been able to meet diverse Smithies! If I am awake at 2am on a Tuesday (which in fact is a usual occurrance) I am usually writing a paper or doing research. I can usually leave my room and enter into the common study room to visit with my housemates for a study break. Sometimes we take turns getting eachother coffee so that we make it through the night together. These close house bonds often flourish during these late night study sessions. One of the most exciting traditions is Mountain Day which is a suprise day off during the fall semester. On a nice day, the president of the college wakes up early and rings the church bells to declare a day off from school. When the bells begin ringing, the students wake up and run up and down the halls banging on their neighbor's doors shouting "Its Mountain Day!!!" The students spend the day hiking and picking apples with their housemates. On the evening before the students think the president will declare a Mountain Day, the students who live in the quad riot by having a giant food fight and marching over to the presidents house cheering for a mountain day. It is a very exciting day on campus.

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It's hard to say what is most popular. The investment club is rather well-frequented, as is the International Students Organization, but it is hard to tell if you are not a member, and it also changes from year to year. I was involved with various groups over the years. Senior year I decided to quit the groups, and take advantage of the many lectures and other events, for which I would otherwise not have time. It depends on the house. Usually people leave their door open when they are not doing anything that requires a high level of concentration. Houses are also usually pretty quiet, so it's not hard to study in your room. I've never been to athletic events, but what I hear there are quite a few people that go to watch tehm. For guest speakers it depends on the topic, and what is going on simultaneously on other parts of the campus, Theater productions are usually well-attended. If you want to date you can, but you have to have some initiative. If you don't want to, nobody wil notice. I met them in classes and clubs, or just at dinner. If I'm awake, I do homework. There are tons of traditions: Mountain day, Rally Day, Otelia Cromwell Day, a Bulb Show, Convocation,... Most people limit their partying to the week-ends (friday and saturday nights). there are no fraternities or sororities, the entire college is considered to be one big sorority. I went to New York. Saturday night activities: dancing, watching a movie, homework, reading a book, hanging out with friends,... There are lots of cafees and small shops in downtown Northampton, there's Hapshire mall and Holyoke mall, trips to Boston and New York are always an option, visit one of the other 5colleges, etc.

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I think one of the biggest groups on campus is the Smith Democrats. We have an excellent group and have a couple of students on the executive board of both the College Democrats of Massachusetts and the College Democrats of America! Sports are a great way to get involved and those teams tend to be pretty tightly knit. For example, I'm on the crew team and there are 60 people on the team but that is still how I met my closest friends. Smithies are very involved. We take our academics seriously and we take our extracurriculars seriously. There is always something to do, an event, a party, a lecture. A lot of people do spend Friday night getting take out and watching a movie, or catching up on some homework. But that doesnt' matter when you are surrounded by people you really like in your houses. My group of friends my from house first-year are still some of my closest friends. People do party here! We have parties nearly every weekend, and there are plenty of opportunities to go off campus and meet new people, if you choose to do so. Northampton is also a fun place. I volunteer at the Academy of Music, a local theater so I sometimes will spend my nights ushering and handing out programs then seeing a free show! There are so many ways to get involved here and so much going on that most students complain more about being overwhelmed with all the possibilities rather than being bored.

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Students tend to leave doors open and houses are often quite close. Sometimes this leads to house-drama, but it also leads to a lot of house-love and really close friendships. Guest speakers are definitely more popular than athletic events, although the sports teams usually have a lot of spirit themselves (just not a lot of spectators). Smith is filled with beautiful traditions like Mountain Day (a spontaneous day off in the fall) and Ivy Day (a parade at the end of the school year). I met my closest friends in my house and also in an activist group I joined. If I was awake at 2 am on a Tuesday I would definitely be at the local 24-hour diner with my pals. In fact, we did that a lot. That diner has amazing spicy fries. There were always parties on the weekends, but there were a lot of smithies who weren't big drinkers and there were plenty of non-drinking things to do. People would stay up late talking, catch a movie in town, order ice cream and cookies to be delivered to the house, go visit friends at another campus... I never had a weekend where I didn't have anything fun to do. In the winter a lot of people go sledding and ice skating at night; a lot of people hike and go to concerts in town.

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Smith has quite a few extracurricular groups, ranging from "Minorities in the Sciences" and the BSA to political groups, debate, sports teams, etc. I have yet to find a group to be involved with, however. We get a lot of guest speakers and various alum panels to discuss industries/majors. My house does not have any incidents of stealing that I am aware of. My door is usually open and I rarely lock it. I am closest to the people I live with. Smith has a lot of events and school traditions, such as Mountain Day and Rally Day, Quadstock, Quad Riot, various house rivalries, etc. A lot of school pride is generated from these events. There is virtually no dating scene. The only typical social events that we have are "house parties," which are excuses for men to show up at the college in order to find easy sex. One is better off getting off campus to the surrounding schools if they want to find meaningful relationships with men/other people. The Rec Council shows movies on the weekends; one can eat in town or see performances/movies; there are usually things going on that would not necessarily facilitate drinking. My sleep patterns have me up at 2 am on most nights.

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Popular teams: crew, rugby, ultimate frisbee. I'm involved in crew - it's fun but it's a big commitment. We wake up before 5 every day and race all day every Saturday. Students definitely leave their rooms open - you know everyone in your house. Athletic events are mostly attended by family and friends of athletes. Guest speakers get varying audiences depending on their topic and how well publicized they were. Theater is pretty available and seems well attended. Dating: girls date girls, some people arrive with boyfriends, a few find five college boys. My closest friends are from my house and crew. Awake at 2 am on Tuesday means you're working on a paper that's due at 9. Traditions: convocation, primal scream, rally day, streaking the cc etc. Sororities are only available off campus. Last weekend I raced, went to an alumnae tea and did homework. Saturday night: go to a party but don't drink, watch a movie with friends, go to the mall (roller skating, laser tag), contra-dancing in Greenfield if you've got a ride, go to a performance. Off campus there's shopping, movies, bowling, laser-tag, roller-skating, ice skating, dinner, cafes etc.

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My favorite aspect of Smith is our housing system. We do not live in residential buildings or dormitories, we live in houses. I live in Lamont house. In Lamont, we leave our doors open and wander the halls to visit our friends. It is also commonplace that students live in the same house all four years. The only semester I wasn't in Lamont was when I was studying in DC for my junior year fall. Smith is also full of traditions. We have a very active archive that has so many materials for students to browse, and from which to do research. Some of our favorite traditions include Opening Convocation, Mountain Day, Otelia Cromwell Day, House Teas, Rally Day, Intramurals, Ivy Day, Illumination and Commencement. Smith also has amazing programing. Every night of the week there is something going on. There are fantastic lectures, concerts, plays, art shows, student organization parties or events.

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Most people meet their closest friends first semester in their house, and then I've found the doors are mostly closed after that. If you are awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, you are probably up having a breakdown in the hallway because you fucked up and now you have to do an all-nighter 10 page paper and you didn't do the reading and it's too late to ask for an extension. I think it happens at least twice a semester in my house and everyone knows someone who has gone through it. Activities that don't involve drinking/getting high and are actually a lot of fun: taking a canoe/row boat out on the pond in nice weather, sledding/ice skating in winter, student org shows a different movie every week, malls, coffee houses, billiards, bowling downtown, laser tag/roller skating at the mall, apple picking in the fall.

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Most people meet their closest friends first semester in their house, and then I've found the doors are mostly closed after that. If you are awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, you are probably up having a breakdown in the hallway because you fucked up and now you have to do an all-nighter 10 page paper and you didn't do the reading and it's too late to ask for an extension. I think it happens at least twice a semester in my house and everyone knows someone who has gone through it. Activities that don't involve drinking/getting high and are actually a lot of fun: taking a canoe/row boat out on the pond in nice weather, sledding/ice skating in winter, student org shows a different movie every week, malls, coffee houses, billiards, bowling downtown, laser tag/roller skating at the mall, apple picking in the fall.

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Smith social life is slightly impaired in my eyes, but it does not detract from how I feel about Smith. You are usually with your closest housemates, and their friends and friends of their friends. You are not usually in a completely new setting with new people. There are house parties sometimes, and many many events in the campus center. Winter and Spring weekends are a lot of fun, and there is a lot going on then. The dating scene is mostly non existent, but you can certainly go looking for it if you want. I think it is nice to go to a school without the drama of relationships, but that is because I am straight, I'm sure lesbians do not feel the same way. Drinking is rare in my circle, but does happen on campus, but almost always it is responsible and in check.

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