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The University of Alabama

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Describe the students at your school.

With a campus as large as UA's, you are going to run into people of all different opinions, religions, races, etc. Around B.B. Comer, the hall of international studies, you will always see people from the Middle East or Asia standing around talking to each other in their native tongue. I think it's kind of cool ... if they came from the Middle East, a lot of them are Muslim and maintain the dress-code of the Qu'ran here in the states. You do have segregated sororities and fraternities, but that's another complicated matter in and of itself. LGBT is gaining a lot of ground; in almost every building you will see a teacher's door with a rainbow triangle outside the door that says "Safe Zone" meaning no judgement will pass through those doors and it gives people who are fighting with their sexuality to talk to someone and know that it will not be spread around. Then, homecoming comes and during the parade the LGBT group has a section in the parade and a lot of ultra-conservative families get very angry when a guy wearing makeup walks by in high heels. Every year, Kami-Con happens in which Manga and Anime geeks get to dress up, gather, and talk about their favorite show/book/movie. Overall, I do not think anyone would feel out of place on campus, you just have to find your group, if you will. Attire is a funny thing: you would think sorority girls would dress up because, they're sorority girls. But actually, this is how you tell whether someone is a sorority girl or not: if they wear giant shirts with leggings in the winter and nike shorts in the summer, with tennis shoes (may or may not have calf-high socks), and maybe a hat under which their hair is thrown up in a ponytail, it's more than likely a sorority girl. I am not being judgmental by any means, I have friends in sororities and they talk about it too, it's just a fact. Frat pledges wear a particular color polo on a certain day and wear a suit every Wednesday. If you forget what day it is and can't check a calendar, look for guys in suits, if you see guys in suits, it's Wednesday (I did that today). As for the rest of us, we wear whatever we want: jeans, t-shirts, dresses, daisy duke shorts, whatever you want to wear...except a bathing suit; haven't seen that one yet. Different types of students interact quite regularly. I mean if they are frat/sorority they are going to have their obligations to their frat/sorority but as for classes, a sorority girl will not snub nose a non-sorority girl because "they aren't good enough for them to talk to them". Most of the time.. If there were four tables in the dining hall, they would be: blacks, sorority girls, frat boys, Asians/geeks. (no disrespect intended) Most students are from the surrounding states or within the state: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, etc. Most students are middle class - unless they are in a frat/sorority in which case they would have to have money in order to be in the frat/sorority. Most students are politically aware, but I am not. I hate politics. But most are, predominantly, I would say they are right but I could be wrong and they could very well lean more towards center. I think a lot of students were reared in a conservative home but their views are slightly more liberal but not so so liberal as to say they are left winged. In my experience, students do not talk about how much they'll earn one day. We are more concerned with getting through college than to concentrate on the future.

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I am involved with a racial organization called Sustained Dialogue but there are other organizations on campus tailored to religious, LGBT, and socio-economic groups as well. The University holds a Get on Board Day so that you can sign up for anything you're interested in. The minority student that is not a people person would feel out of place. I was that minority student and still find myself uncomfortable at times. I came here knowing no one, and that was hard to deal at first. But with time you grow to meet new people thru these organizations.Students are pretty liberal with what they wear to class. A common outfit would consist of jeans and a tshirt. Unfortunately rarely do students from different backgrounds interact. That is what Sustained Dialogue works with. At Sustained Dialogue we try to bridge the gap between people that wouldn't normally interact through conversations every week. If there are four tables in the cafeteria, one would be the black Greek table, where you would see Delta Sigma Theta sorors, Alpha Phi Alpa fraternity members and possibly others having a good time. These students for the most part would be all black. The next table would consist of the foreign exchange students most likely speaking a language no one in the cafeteria could understand. Your third table would likely be the Mallet Assembly kids which would resemble your nerds in high school. They embrace the fact that they are different and do not try to conform to what is regularly accepted at the university. Yes they are the butt of a lot of jokes around campus but they do their own thing rather than try to fit in. The fourth table would probably be UA Athletics. There go your track athletes and football players- maybe a basketball player in the mix. But for the most part that's the UA cafeteria in a gist. The majority of the students that attend the University of Alabama are from the state of Alabama. Most of the majority is from Birmingham in one way or another. The other from Huntsville, and the smaller portion of that majority from "the Gump" or Montgomery. University of Alabama is a school that boasts having a very strong alumni base, so the students are normally well off. Students are for the most part politically apathetic because Student Government does no real noticeable changes on campus. As far as the Presidential debate is concerned, there are a lot of students with invested interest in getting involved with campaigns and there is a pipeline that establishes connections in DC for political science and history majors. Alabama for the most part is conservative making it a right-winged state and that reflects onto the University of Alabama campus. Suprisingly enough, many students you encounter are not at college for the money, but to do some good in the world. And that is refreshing.

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UA is nearly 30% Greek, so everywhere you look you see frat guys and sorority girls. Polo and Sperrys are the most common brand guys wear, basically everywhere from class to the bars to church. Sorority girls have a unique style; they proudly wear their greek letters on oversized shirts and Nike Tempo shorts. The first time I visited UA I was actually surprised to see all these girls in unflattering,unfitted outfits. BAMA's overall style is preppy and classy, so students who wear "skater" clothes or have an alternative look are often looked at with an odd eye. It is unfortunate that many students are judgmental, especially when it comes to brand names and appearances. This may be because many students at UA come from money. If I had to guess, I would say 60% of the students are from the state of Alabama, 15% from Georgia, 15% from Texas, and the remaining 10% from other states. Most students stay in their own groups, especially Greeks. Students at UA are largely republican, but from what I have seen not many are actively involved. Most students come from a "country-club" background so they aspire to be just as wealthy.

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The students here at The University of Alabama are here to get an education but have fun while doing it. Everyone gets along and learns from each other, whether it's learning about a different state someone is from to learning about what a persons major is, everyone here is always willing to learn. While most of the students are from Alabama and the surrounding states, such as Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee, there are many student who are here from around the country. From New York City to Rockford, Illinois to Dallas, Texas and even Seattle, Washington there are students who come here to learn and experience something new. Since we are in college, no one really bothers to get dressed up to go class. After all we are here for an education, not to impress one another. On a typical fall day, you can expect the girls to be in a baggy tee shirt, leggings, and athletic shoes, and guys to be dressed in a Crimson Tide tee shirt and shorts. Students here wear a lot of tee shirts because we get the majority of them for free from people handing them out all around campus.

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There are obviously racial issues here because tuscaloosa city is heavily african american. i wish the Christian crowd was more prominant on campus than it is. There is every kind of group here at UA so unless you cant find "your kind of people" then people dont seem to feel left out. freshman year might be the only time someone feels left out because of the strong greek system. which i think is very sad because once you make it to your sophmore and junior years you realize that none of that matters. t-shirt and jeans are a staple in student wardrobe in class. you might have a handfull in PJ's and maybe 30% dressed casual. Four tables: Sorority/Frat. table, Punk type people, "independants" (non-greek), African American. Most UA students are in-state. Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Trusville are citys alot of instate people come from. A lot from Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Most prevalent finiancial background can be described as "Old Money". Very politically aware, and make their views known. You find all kinds from right to left.

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There are so many different groups on campus that I don't think I could name half of them. There's no way anyone could feel out of place at UA if they just signed up for a group. They would have friends within a week. It's definitely worth it to show up to Get-On-Board day and sign up for at least one group. At UA, I found that most students just wore t-shirts and jeans/shorts to class. Everyone is really relaxed I don't think anyone really tries to get dressed up unless they have to. It's not high school where everything has to be form fitting and itty-bitty. Come to class relaxed, stress-free, and you'll probably do a lot better. Most students at UA seem to be from the state of Alabama. But there is definitely an increase in students coming from out-of-state. There is usually at least one or two people in each of my classes that actually lives near me at home. No one really talks about how much they'll earn one day. Probably because they still don't know exactly what they want to do.

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For the most part, the campus of UA is an integrated place but there are always certain groups of people who tend to segregate themselves from the greater community. There have been a couple racial incidents on campus but the administration jumped on it quickly and showed the integrity of the university. I am involved in the religious community and there are many more people who love Jesus on this campus than the stereotype would suggest. All sorts of campus ministries are available such as nondenominational, Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, and plenty more. The main political side I hear actively on campus is the left side so it seems most students tend to lean to the left. There are definitely groups such as the LGBT which are left-based groups who make their name known. But there is at the same time a large right-based populous which may just be less outwardly spoken.

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The student body here at Bama is very diversed. They are all types of people from all over the country and some from out of the country. But you will surprisingly find out there are tons of students from Texas and Georgia. Many student are politically aware and you will see students campaigning for presidential candidates and/or some protests. These are usually peaceful. There are demonstrations on campus. Right before spring break, two traveling ministers came talking about the wrongs people are making and how they need to change their ways. The things they say are not what the University thinks. They come and speak in the free speech zones. But besides that the student body is laid back. They are just students trying to earn an education. If you are wondering what they wear, they wear everything from jeans to shorts to dresses. Everyone is free to wear what they want.

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To class, it just depends on who you are or what time of the day your class is, to determine what students will be wearing. But, any given day you will see people in shorts, t-shirts, jeans, and flip flops. There are also the people who like to dress up or look nice for class. And some people, have a major where they are required to look nice, for instance Business or Education majors. Nursing majors may have to wear scrubs if they are in school already and there are also the ROTC guys and girls who have their uniforms to wear. But at 8 o clock in the morning, you will most likely see people in their shorts or pajama pants and a t-shirt and hoodie. It is a very laid-back environment.

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Although the campus is predominately white, I feel like UA's student body is diverse. There are lots of student organizations for different ethnic, religious (or lack there of), and political backgrounds. One particularly strong group is Spectrum, the GLBTQ group on campus. Some political groups include College Dems, UA Republicans, and an anti-war, anti-oppression group Students for a Democratic Society (the campus as a whole is relatively conservative and politically inactive). The kind of student that you would see most is the Greek stereotype: blond women with pony tails and a gym shorts/t-shirt combo or the "bro": fratty dudes with a visor and expensive shoes.

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