Contrary to popular belief, Swatties find time apart from studying to join various clubs, teams, committees, and other groups. I, for example, am a member of the Village Education Project. The group provides education opportunities for young Ecuadorean children by giving them school supplies and sending Swattie volunteers to a partner school to teach them over the summers. Overall, politically oriented and a capella clubs seem to be the highest populated and most represented groups, reflecting Swarthmore’s artistic, eco friendly, and activist inclinations. Specifically, political activists can find a wide range of projects to get involved with from stopping hydraulic fracturing to War News Radio to (economic) Class Activists to Global Health Forum and much more. Even clubs with different interests have an activist purpose: for example, TOPSoccer gives soccer players the opportunity to play with and teach kids in nearby underserved communities. For the more creative types, there are seven a capella groups (not to mention additional choral and musical groups!) with their own styles/ fields of expertise.
Although athletics are not at the forefront of Swat’s reputation, our men’s Garnet soccer team is highly competitive, and their games are also great social, prideful bonding experiences for the students. Each of their matches home and sometimes away is attended by the majority of the student body. In fact, class of 2011 alum Morgan Langley was signed with the MLS Philadelphia Union shortly after his recent graduation from Swat. Swat’s intellectual atmosphere also attracts tons of students to incredible guest lectures; renowned journalist Nicholas Kristof was a recent visitor whose lecture attracted and captivated practically the entire student body!
After the soccer games, the two on-campus fraternities Delta Upsilon (the “baseball frat”) and Phi Psi (the “lacrosse frat”) have been known to throw popular themed late-night parties like 80s Night and Western Wear, and Swat’s Pub Night every Thursday in Paces Cafe starts the weekend off on a great note for many students. Pre-and-after-party shindigs are usually held by each dorm (especially Willets: the party dorm!) Besides making the occasional trip to U Penn, there isn’t much to do off campus for entertainment in the small town of Swarthmore, and people usually only party once to twice a week. As such, it’s possible to get “Swat Goggles” (a close relative of beer goggles) at on-campus events from being such a small school, but the dating scene is pretty intimate in a charming, quaint way. In fact, Swat is often called the Quaker Matchbox because of the high number of Swatties who find themselves married to one another after their time in college.
Luckily, the matchbox also works great for finding friends! I found my three closest buds attending a Swat diversity workshop over the summer. Once we found out our common interests extended beyond diversity awareness when we found ourselves in many of the same classes, we’ve been inseparable since. This sense of togetherness makes students quite trusting of one another: we usually leave our dorm doors open, and strive to spend time with each other apart from drinking and greek life, as those are present but not dominant aspects of student life (there aren’t any sororities!) For instance, I recently spent my night going for a walk around town with friends and meandering down to the local Chinese food restaurant, where we celebrated the end of finals with a large feast. Wildly exciting? No. Extremely amusing and good bonding? Definitely.
Some groups on campus: The Phoenix, Swarthmore Asian Organization, Enlace, and the fraternity, DU. None of these are that big--they tend to be sort of like familial groups that you go to during meetings. I'm involved in The Phoenix, the campus newspaper, and I got started in it because I had never written for a newspaper before and thought that it would be cool to try something new and know how it was like, so I joined. Groups here are generally very inclusive.
We often get guest speakers here. One of the most interesting guest speakers I spoke to (I interviewed for The Phoenix) was involved in an organization called Food Not Bombs, which calls for redirecting military expenses toward feeding the hungry, with the idea that providing food for all is more important than war. He was really amazing because he was taught by Howard Zinn and went all over Europe to see Food Not Bombs groups starting up, and it was amazing to see how a small idea that he and his friends had would become a global thing. Other guest lectures I've attended: a professor from MIT talked about the effect of climate change on economics, and Michael Dukakis spoke about the 2008 election.
Parties are usually Thursday nights and Saturday nights. On Sunday most people get to work and do stuff for Monday.
Lots of people here drink, but if you're not into that (I'm not), there are often movies showing every week, dances (in other words, party but just don't drink), and of course there's Philadelphia. I think a lot of people might find this boring, but I think a lot of people are fine with it--I usually watch a movie during the weekend, hang out with friends, do a bit of work (sometimes a lot), and just relax. It's really low-key.
Sports and frats exist, but they're not important. The social life is what you make of it. You can have whatever you want, but by senior year, you mostly just want to hang out with your friends and drink.
The town sucks, but Philly is cool and if you have one urbane bone in your body, you'll be there at least once a month.
We get good bands coming through.
There are a few big parties every year, the most notable being Sager Genderfuck. It's the least progressive way of looking at sexual freedom, but it's fun nonetheless.
However, if you don't like drinking, there are plenty of other dorks playing board games on a Saturday night.
Dating happens more than hooking up. Mostly because students here think that once you hook up wiht someone, you're in love with them. They're a little slow in that respect. 25% of students end marrying another Swarthmore student.
Many students participate in sports and clubs on campus. I'm a member of the ultimate frisbee team, which is a very laid pack sport that runs itself (without a coach), whose practices are pretty optional, and who value having a good time and feeling physically satisfied more than achieving any certain results. There are a number of guest speakers who come to campus, and they are always fascinating. The dating scene is fully functional here. I, myself, find many opportunities to ask a cute boy to go on a walk with me around our beautiful campus and get to know them a little better. Philadelphia is a short train ride away, so people sometimes go on adventures into the city.
There are two fraternities, Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi. DU is the more closed frat, while Phi Psi is pretty open (a drinking club if you will). Weekends are typically pretty lively, with plenty of dancing. Swarthmore parties aren't like typical college "house parties" where only a select few party together. Swarthmore, being a Quaker college, encourages socializing together, which usually means large open parties for all to attend.
Swarthmore is also a part of the Tri-College Consortium with Haverford and Bryn Mawr...a bus load of Bryn Mawr girls usually unload every weekend.
People are very committed to their activities. It's a small campus, so there aren't tons of party options, but I don't think this was a huge thing for most of us. Lots of people drink, lots of people never drink. Many people party for a few hours and then return to their room and study before crashing. Everyone seems to feel very safe and secure among one another, which is probably risky. I personally couldn't understand why so many people would never lock their doors, but that was fairly common. The dating scene was generally complained about, but I met some great guys at Swarthmore and didn't have any complaints there.
If you want to find a strong frat scene, this is not the place. If you like hanging out with friends over a couple beers, or going to a (relatively tame) dance party, then you should be happy. A good place to find very hard-core sci-fi/fantasy/folk dancing types, although they are a small minority. Swatties tend to over-commit, and have a ridiculous number of extra-curricular activities. Since it's such small place it's easy to get involved in anything. At Swat all you need are two degrees of separation. Some people find that suffocating, as there are fewer people to meet and everyone finds out about your business. Some love the tight-knit community, the experience of entering a party and feeling like everyone there is a friend of yours.
I have fun. Drinking is pretty open here but very safe because upper classment tend to take care of kids, etc. There are TONS of clubs and organizations and the school is good about helping people start new ones. The frats serve an important role for people who want that, but lots of other people rarely ever go there. Athletic events are increasing in popularity. The dating scene: either hooking up or practically married.
People are very involved at Swarthmore. People all have their "thing," whether it be sports, activist groups, affinity groups, or performance groups. There are two frats, mostly comprised of athletes, but the members don't live at the frats, they just have parties and are not a huge presence on campus.
Because it is such a small campus, a lot of the parties are in all-campus spaces, not in people's rooms. Therefore, they are fun and not exclusive. In terms of drinking, the school's main priority is keeping people safe, not getting people in trouble. There is also a fairly big group that doesn't drink, and there are things to do that don't involve drinking.
Many Swatties complain that the social scene is repetitive, and while this might be true, you can definitely make your own fun. Philly is really only a hop-skip-and-a-jump from campus by train, and while the (2) frats or the communal social center may not be your scene on a Saturday night, there are generally parties/festivities/movies/concerts going on to keep people entertained.
Athletics are not really "du jour" at Swat, much to the annoyance of the athletes themselves, and fraternities are definitely not the sordid, debaucherous affairs portrayed in "Animal House."
I would rate social life as medium. The parties aren't as great as bigger universities but they suffice for most. Most parties happen at Paces or Olde Club and usually involve music and alcohol. However, if you aren't into that, you can hit up one of the Parrish Parlour Parties for some sober fun. On a Saturday night, there is a wide variety going on. Some are sleeping at 9p.m., some watch movies, and some drink and dance until the wee hours of the morning. It's all about personal preference.
Swarthmore has a wide variety of events (shows, parties, speakers, movies, etc) and a ton of clubs for everything you could think of. Athletics exist but are not widely attended at all.
There are definitely parties on the weekend (sometimes at our 2 fraternities) but I would say that only some of the student body attends these types of parties.
small social scene but there is complete and utter freedom on campus
There is social life at Swat but not as much as at some other colleges and universities. The parties are mostly of the same type in the same place. They're pretty predictable. Swarthmore does provide some big events that most of the student body comes out to. I met my friends through Rhythm and Motion and Essence of Soul. They are two popular groups on campus. Some people party very often. I try to balance it, although I enjoy being social and having fun. There's not a big greek life at Swat at all. There are only fraternities and I don't really consider them "real" frats. There's quite a bit of drinking on campus. Dry parties are thrown but people still show up drunk sometimes. After a certain time though, there's not much to do except hang out with friends in your room.
The social life is is pretty active. There are always tons of activities and fun things planned. The school is very willing to fund student activities as long as they are open to the whole campus, and a lot of unique fun things result. Examples inlcude the famous pterodactyl hunt, or keilbasafest and worthstock.
There are also plenty of parties during the weekends, though there is no pressure to go to them.
Parties can be found thurs-sunday. If there is not an official party you can hit up a frat. Alcohol can be found any where, yet many people are fine without drinking and fun is easily accessible for them too.
Prior to 2006, we only had two fraternities on campus. Sororities were banned in the 1930's and since then, there have been multiple failed attempts to re-establish them. In 2006, one of my friends and I started a group called the Ladies Soiree Society (LaSS) and it has since been dubbed a "quasi-sorority". We're all-inclusive and currently the largest womens group on campus. Although many of our members are close friends with the fraternity brothers, our goal in creating LaSS was to equalize the social scene on campus (why should we have to depend on men to have a night out?). Although the campus was hesitant to accept us at first, we've gained a lot of support and popularity due to some of our events. The most successful is by far our Mr. Swarthmore Competition, a male beauty pageant in which male representatives from various groups and activities on campus compete in formal wear, tropical wear, talent, and a Q&A section.
While frisbee isn't the most popular group on campus, it's still a lot of fun. We can come to practice when we have time, hang out with friends, get exercise, and practice. If a door's open, it's probably a freshman door, because we're all dying to meet new people. Upperclassmen normally have their friends and tend to not be around the dorm as much it seems. If we're up at 2am on a tuesday, we're either doing homework or talking in the lounge after doing work. But it's mostly the work.
There are a lot of groups and organizations on campus, whether they're varsity sports, club sports, volunteer or activist groups, radio groups, identity focused groups, etc, and they're a great way to meet people. Students tend to be friendly and trusting, leaving items around and leaving doors open. Theater, dance and music performances are highly attended...sports, not so much. The dating scene is absolutely horrendous- people, for the most part, are either hooking up or 'married.' I met my closest friends because we lived in the same dorm my freshman year. Speaking of dorms, the fact that there are no 'freshman' dorms on campus was extremely helpful to me: I got to actually meet upperclassmen, some of whom I became very close to. If I'm awake at 2 am on a tuesday, I'm leaving the library. There are a lot of fun traditions at swarthmore every year: the pterodactyl hunt (I'll leave that to you to research), Screw Your Roommate (set roommate up on a blind date, with a twist: the 'paired' roommates are wearing a set of costumes and have to find each other. for example, my freshman year, I went as Miss Piggy and my date was dressed as Kermit the Frog), the Willets carnival (carnival activities outside Willets dorm), Worthstock (an all day music fest), Kielbasafest, the block party, the Crum Regatta, the Sager Symposium and Genderfuck party, etc. These events really do bring the campus together. The fraternities are friendly places that aren't really like real frats. The brothers are pretty welcoming and never turn anyone away. They just dole out lots of free beer, and hold a few big parties each semester. Not a lot of people go there except to the big parties. There are no sororities. People usually party on Thursdays and Saturdays. Thursday is the best night of the week: Pub Nite. A senior class fundraiser, Pub Nite is a weekly event held in the Paces student-run cafe/party space where the senior officers buy 5 or 6 kegs, and for $4 you can drink unlimited beer from 9-12. People play games, listen to good music (the music is very important and regular pubniters vie for the chance to make the pubnite playlist each week), and eventually as the drunkenness ensues, dance. Off campus, people tend to go into Philadelphia for dinner, or Media for a little bit of closer fun. but the train tickets can be pricey.
The cultural groups have a tremendous role in organizing social events on campus, from speakers to parties. Some students leave their doors open, but not all. A substantial portion of students are in relationships, but many more engage in a hook-up culture here. The party scene is great for first year students, but can get boring quickly for other students.
The social life is what you make of it. You can party every night if you want, you can study every night if you want. Random occurances happen frequently. There were times when I would find myself on midnight runs or involved in late night games or conversations, or middle of the day adventures. When I was at Swat I did a mix of going out to parties on the weekends, hosting gatherings of people for wine and cheese, hanging out with friends, going into Philly, watching movies.
Dorm life is pretty active, though it depends on the dorm. My most active was when I lived in Willets (mainly freshmen and sophomores). We had people frequently streaming in and out of our room.
Conversations with Swatties are always an adventure. They float easily back and forth between uber serious, to melodramatically serious, to ridiculously stupid, to superficial, to grossly funny, and back again. I miss the ease of conversation - of floating over topics and depths of conversation.
Extracurricular activities are diverse and well, active. Students often leave their doors open in dorms to promote a social life on the hall. Athletic events come last on the Swarthmore list of priorities. Guest speakers are frequent and informative. People work hard and play hard. There are many traditions that are alive on campus - Sager, Crunk Fest, Soul Shack, the Block Party, Parrish Takeover, etc. There are plays, musical and dance performances that happen on weekends that do not involve drinking, however they do not usually last past 11 at night. Many people go off campus to party on weekends or go into Philadelphia to hangout, go to a movie, out to dinner, etc.
social life? activities? Hillary Clinton went to Haverford, we got Chelsea who was tired, and said "Oh My Gosh" before answering any questions.
that sums it up
plenty of options for all. usually a party or movie option. people go to athletic events if they have time, but are supportive. many groups on campus.
There are a ton of clubs and groups and they're lavishly funded. Sophomores tend to run them, since juniors and seniors are too busy. Sports aren't very big (we have no football team, thank goodness), but they are there.
Social life varies widely with what kind of people you hang around with. There are drunken dance parties at Paces, tripping in the woods, board games/ roleplaying/ cult movies, religious groups, etc. – you can take your pick. Dating is similarly varied – some people don't do it, some find a new hook-up each weekend, some hang out awkwardly for weeks or months until they get up the courage to start awkwardly making out – we've got all kinds.
There are no sororities and two frats, who are not a big part of campus life but still seem find a way to make trouble all the time.
On weekends there is generally (each night) a paces party (all campus), a smaller, but equally well attended separate party, two frat parties, a movie showing, a musical, athletic, learning, lecture, eating, event. Plus any number of small gatherings of friends. I would say the frat party scene has the same people every week, but then, so do the movie showings. Thanks to large scale event, we get some pretty big name bands/people at the school including, maragret cho, the roots, ben folds, the new pornographers, state radio etccc.Students do leave their doors open, except when they are working of course. I would say that the work hard play hard saying holds really true here. The dating scene is tricky if you date within the school because it is so small, everybody usually knows everything, and rumors start. I met my closest friends on sports teams and on my dorm halls. the sports teams here are both good and bad, but the people on the teams are usually great. I try not to stay up until 2am cause i wake up anyway at like 7. but if i am i am probably back to the dorm at this point, hanging on my hall, or just recently a friends invaded my dorm room and cleaned it. ha or tried to
There's always one big party every weekend. Because the school is so small, parties are very inclusive. You will never find yourself in the awkward situation of not knowing anyone at a social event.
There are tons of activities for the politically active. Theater here is kind of a dud in terms of the scale of productions.
Well for me swim team is pretty cool. People try to leave their dorms open, my dorm floor was pretty close this year. The students get emails about events on campus to go to. The dating scene-maybe it is just the people I hang out with, but most seem to be taken. There is also a good amount of queer couples as well as heterogeneous couples. We have two fraternity houses, but no one really lives in them. They basically serve as designated party areas.
Social life is fun, here - there's always something to do. There are parties every weekend, and if, like me, you don't drink, no problem - there's also quieter, (or not so quiet) dry parties in various places around campus. The frats exist, but they're not the only way to have a social life. Some crazy traditions we have are the "Pterodactyl Hunt" (a really crazy game where one pretends one is a great hero and goes about slaying monsters) and Sager ("guys wear a dress, girls wear less". Those aren't the only but I'm frankly getting kinda bored with the survey.
Everyone here is very friendly and open, so you can basically hang out with whomever you want to and just chill with anyone. You have so many opportunities to join new organizations or hear interesting lectures, where you can meet new people. Some people find the size of the school to be annoying when everyone else knows about your relationships. There are lots of traditions we celebrate, and they are all awesome to participate in. Last weekend was parent's weekend, and I went with my room mate's parents to Washington D.C., where we participated in a demonstration for Darfur with other students from around the country. Basically you have the small college atmosphere with the excitement of a big city right at your doorstep.
I think that one of the more popular groups on campus is Rhythm and Motion, which is a dance group. Their last performance was pretty packed. Athletic events are not too popular because of the fact that all of our teams, even though we are DIII, are still pretty bad. I think that dating within Swarthmore is very different than dating in the real world. Because of the small size, people find it hard to lead independent lives from their significant others. Thus, when breakups happen, there are several mutual friends that are left in awkward situations. A Swarthmore tradition is Pub Nite, which happens every Thursday and is all you can drink for $4 for underclassmen and $3 for seniors. The profit made from these Thursday night gatherings accrues to the senior class' senior week activities, which is the week before graduation in which they do activities. We have no sororities and only two fraternities, which signifies that the greek scene at Swarthmore is pretty nonexistant.
Last weekend I went to a Rhythm and Motion Dance Concert on Saturday and then on Sunday I attended a professional Taiko performance. It was such a great weekend!
One good thing about social life here is that every on-campus event is free and open to all students of Tri-Co. It's such a great system that upholds the campus mission of inclusion and openness.
Sports aren't a big deal at Swarthmore. We don't have a football team, and nobody knows how the soccer team or the basketball team did unless they have a friend on the team. The college administration, academic departments, and students do a good job of bringing interesting speakers to campus. Orchestra 2001 performs music by modern composers at least once per semester on campus. Virtually all campus events are free for students.
Many of the individuals are very involved i activities. There are some that are very anti-social but those that aren't like to be involved with activities.
As with any small school, drinking is a big thing. On weekends, the main form of entertainment is a 10 pm to 2 am party, lots of alcohol included.
That's not to say that there aren't other things going on...there are often concerts, plays, lectures, movies etc., but after a certain time of day, it all comes down to the parties.
The worst thing about weekend life at Swat is the lack of food...after about 10 pm, food becomes pretty much inavailable on campus. There are a few pizza delivery places around, but after about midnight delivery is pretty iffy and unreliable.
Because Swat is kind of in a bubble, all of the socializing happens on campus. We can technically go to Bryn Mawr, Haverford or UPenn whenever we want, but the reality is that few people go on a regular basis. This makes Swarthmore a little incestuous. I think it's fair to say that I know about a fifth of the student body well enough to say hello to them, and almost a third by name or reputation.
Swatties are generally wonderful fun to talk to, involved in at least six different extracurriculars, and prone to excessive social awkwardness. I find the people here endlessly entertaining, and I would rather be spending time with fellow Swatties than with any other group of people I can think of.
We have some crazy traditions. Pterodactyl Hunt (hitting people with foam swords), Crum Regatta (students building and racing "boats" down the creek), the rugby team streaking, etc.
Very service and social action oriented organizations. It's really easy to get funding to do your own project, start your own organization, etc.
There are no sororities, two non-residential frats, one of which provides most of the parties.
Sports are not a huge deal on campus, although a lot of students are involved.
I live in a very social dorm. We like to drop into each others rooms for study breaks just to talk and can lose hours to good conversations, even when we don't have hours to lose. there are quite a few fun traditions at Swarthmore. We have the primal scream before finals where the deans serve the students a midnight breakfast and we all let out a primal scream before the chaos of finals begin. We have a large event called screw your roommate where you set you roommate up on a blind date, dress them up in a costume, send them to the dining hall in a costume (along with the rest of the student body) in order to find their matching mate for the night. There are a lot of these traditions these are just the first two that came to mind. Last weekend I went to a girl's night with the freshmen girls on my hall on Thursday night and then went to another hall to socialize further. On Friday i studied some, went on a run. I watched my best friend's a capella (i can't spell sorry) concert, went to a dance, discussed the war in iraq, and called it a night. On Saturday i studied in the library and on the main lawn in school where some bands were playing for peace week. I hung out with my Frisbee team, after which we attended a rhythm and motion dance concert (it's kind of a big deal on campus).
It's hard to judge "popularity" on campus because there's no real hierarchy. People are popular amongst their own friends, which tends to comprise a group.
No real dating scene. Students just tend to hook-up or have unhealthy relationships that lead to them not having other friends.
Swarthmore activities such as clubs and organizations are very strong and informative. But when it comes to just having a strong social life...Swat isn't really the place to be, people study a lot around here.
There's always something to do - just not always what something you WANT to do. There far too many clubs to even begin listing, but only two fraternities. The dating scene? Unfortunately, almost non-existent (at least by percentage.)
Darfur is a very popular topic/organization. People also enjoy RnM, or at least watching them. I am involved with Pemon Health and SAO. Students usually leave their doors open in their dorms. Athletic events are popular to only a select group of people. Guest speakers and theater are usually more popular than sporting events. The dating scene is non-existant. I met my closest friends through Tri-Co and because I lived with them. If I'm awake at 2am on Tuesday, I'm definitely cramming for something. People party every weekend or not at all- there is rarely a happy medium. Frats are unimportant. Sororities don't exist. Last weekend I hung out in a friend's room. Besides drinking on Saturday nights, you can watch movies on your own. Off campus I shop in Philly and eat food.
Most students in dorms do leave their doors open, everybody feels pretty safe, although this year there were a rash of thefts that prompted a temporary heightened sense of insecurity. but in general, we feel pretty safe.
athletic events....are not so popular. but big national events attract plenty of people. Like the NCAA tennis championships last year.
Guest speakers are very popular
dating can be awkward - keyword: can. it doesn't have to be. but yes, since it is a small campus everyone eventually finds out, so just be prepared to accept that. hook-ups, however, are inevitably awkward, simply because chances are, someone will see that will tell someone that your partner knows, that will go and tell someone that you know.
people party healthily on weekends although there are a STRONG number of swatties who rarely ever go to parties.
...frats are not important
Last weekend, I went with the tennis team to Virginia and Maryland to play matches agaisnt Mary & Washington College and Washington University.
Go to downtown philly, watch a movie, organize a dinner in springfield with friends, organize a poker night, go play ice hockey for free with the Motherpuckers on Sunday night), or you can do work too.....
My group of friends all lived on the same hall our freshman year, which is how we met and became close.
There really isn't much of a dating scene; people are either not getting any, in a committed relationship that might as well be temporary marriage, or hooking up with people they meet at Paces. But to be honest, from talking with high school friends who have gone to different colleges, I think this nature of relationships is just common to our generation and isn't limited to Swarthmore by any means.
The social scene at Swarthmore is pretty much limited to parties at Paces and Olde Club or get-togethers in people's rooms. While there are some weekends that I wish that there was more going on, at the same time, I chose to come to Swarthmore knowing that it didn't have the world's greatest party scene and that was a point of attraction for me. Personally, I'd rather be at a school where my peers also enjoy just hanging out and watching a movie on some weekends rather than going out.
The good thing about a small school is that when there is a really cool event, everyone goes. I really like that sense of community that we all share in the same things. An example of an event that everyone goes to is the Rhythm and Motion performance at the end of every semester or the Boy Meets Tractor shows.
If you're up at 2 AM on a Tuesday, you're doing homework and so is everyone else in your dorm.
As for the social life and drinking, I think that at any college you go to, it's going to be the same: if you find a group of friends that doesn't drink, then you have plenty to do on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking. If you don't find such a group of friends, then at least at Swat you can still go to events earlier in the evening on the weekends, like a performance or show, without drinking being an issue.
Ultimate frisbee is amazing. Practice is really chill because it's all student run and there's no coach. Frisbee tournaments are self-refereed and so most every player is a good sport and the spirit of the game is respected. The frisbee team is like a family. We practice together, eat together, party together. Mix it up, have fun, play sports, get in shape, party hard, chill out. The frisbee team gets a beach house every spring break and lives it up practicing frisbee and partying it out.
Students in dorms leave their doors open definitely and people in halls can be very open to each other.
The dating scene is probably more of a hook-up environment but there are definitely a decent amount of relationships on campus. It all depends on what/who you want but you can probably get it (whatever it is) if you tried.
People party Thursdays through Saturdays usually. Sunday is the day of rest most of the time when people catch up with work. Frats and sororities aren't that important. Sororities don't exist because they voted themselves out of existence a while ago. There are 2 frats that are basically always open to other Swatties even if you aren't a brother. Frats provide party scenes and free booze.
Saturday night can have a lot of non-alcoholic events like performances by bands on-campus, sketch comedy groups, movies, or what not.
Atheletic events are not as popular because this isn't a huge school for people to rally to huge games with rivalries. But people definitely still go to games on campus and it's fun to root your school on.
Off campus, you usually hit up Philadelphia or perhaps other schools around the area. Swarthmore is part of a Tri-Co Consortium with Bryn Mawr and Haverford so parties at those schools are open to Swatties as well. Philadelphia though is a good place to go on the weekends to eat good food, chill out, walk around a city, shop, and see new things.
I think I'm not too far from the truth in saying that the vast majority of Swatties didn't party in high school. They didn't drink until they puked, or run from the cops, or smoke weed, or vandalize property, or partake in all of the other joys of high school life that lay the groundwork for a little more balanced and mature adult life. But when all the introverts experience their first Pub Nite, or fraternity party, or Sager Genderfuck (look it up), the results can be disastrous. Inhibitions go to shit, sexual harassment/misconduct becomes a major issue, and nobody quite knows what to do. The result is a bunch of useless workshops and conversations that can do nothing to address the core issue, which, of course, has a lot more to do with basic human curiosity than social norms or any of that. That's just the way Swat is, and the way it'll remain. But social life can be chill, too. Once again, the easiest way to find satisfaction at Swat is to find your niche. For me, that's people with similar experiential backgrounds--the people who ran from the cops at their senior keggers and who still maintain a healthy affinity for breaking shit.
It seems like all of the groups are pretty equally distributed, maybe 20-30 kids in the larger groups, and roughly 10 in smaller ones. Within the music department, there is more interest in smaller ensembles such as Quartet and Quintets, as opposed to the Wind Ensemble. I am actively involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers. We recently completed a 20-foot long steel bridge and we're using it to compete against other schools. Athletics events are pretty popular, but it depends on the team and the competition (usually, Haverford games yield larger audiences). I met my closest friends through my freshman year living situation and through some of the activities I'm a part of. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I'm probably unwinding after completing a problem set (usually watching Nip/Tuck or a foreign film with Jimmy Jin). People party every weekend, including Thursdays. Traditions?--We have the good versus evil frisbee game every Fall, in which our team is divided into "good" (high scoress on the purity test) and "bad" (low scorers) and pitted against each other. We also play Haverford every Halloween (called Haverween) and beat them. Last weekend, I was off campus at a frisbee tournament. Greek life is not a very prevalent thing at Swarthmore, because the school size is so small and it's easy to find your own natural brother- or sisterhood. Working on a Saturday night usually does not involve drinking. Sometimes, I watch movies or play video games with my friends in the Video Pit. There are also plenty of other sources of entertainment, such as the occasional comedy group performances and music performances, or even going into Philly. I often take late-night walks into the Crum with my friends without using flashlights.
Students are generally over-involved, however, there is no one typical thing a student is involved in. Everyone really has their own things, whether it's varsity baseball, starting a non-profit to provide basic healthcare in Argentina, or being apart of one of Swarthmore's bazillion a cappella groups. Students are up late doing work always. Sharples, the one dining hall at Swarthmore, is where the majority of campus socializing occurs during the week. There are tons of traditions at Swat including an annual make-shift boat race (the Crum Regatta), the annual library race (the McCabe Mile), Skrew your roommate (blind dates and costumes), and more. There are always parties on weekends with or without alcohol (in fact, this weekend, there was a party with a root-beer keg). Additionally, there is always a performance, lecture, sporting event to see on weekends. Swarthmore also will pay for famous acts to come and perform for students. Wanda Sykes, the Roots, Ben Folds, and more have made appearances recently. AND if you get bored with campus happenings, Philly is a quick 20 minute train ride (train at the base of campus) away.
I like the social life here...I am not a total party girl, and I like just chilling with my small group of friends. as I said before, I am just now really starting to cultivate a social group and start hanging out with the people I like here on campus, but it is cool and I feel entirely safe with my fellow students here. I really like it. The frats are not too hard core, but they throw chill parties. The themed dances and stuff are cool too. I support it all.
I went to new york practically every other weekend tho for most of the year to see my boyfriend though, so I'm not sure if I'm the best judge for this question.
There are many, many clubs on campus. If studying is not sucking up all of your time, you may actually make it to one or two meetings per semester.
Guest speakers, unless extremely liberal and/or homosexual, are usually chased off campus. Students are very openly liberal, but not very open-minded.
There are usually parties on Friday and Saturday nights, from 10 PM to 2 AM (but no one actually goes until 12 AM). Drinking is usually a very integral part of this party scene, though students are usually accepting of non-drinkers as well.
The dating scene is highly unfortunate (and arguably non-existent). Word of advice: do NOT date here. There is a very slim chance that you will break up on good times, and an even slimmer chance that you will be able to avoid your ex afterwards, what with the size of the campus (you will most likely have a lot of classes and friends in common, and you life will become the very definition of "awkward").
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