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University of California-Riverside

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What are the most popular student activities/groups?

I'd definately say that the social life at UC Riverside is what keeps the students together, as well as entertained. At least I could speak on my end, as I was heavily involved in the social scene. Dorms freshman year: I lived in East Lothian which was hands down, the best dorms to live in if you want to meet people. Our doors in the dorm rooms remained open, we had talks in the hallway in the middle of the night with our hallmates.. hall activities. Going to the cafeteria to eat was sometimes the highlight of me and my friends day's. Either because we had been so busy study for midterms & writing papers, that that was the only time we could meet over some food. Other times, even if we weren't hungry, we'd go to the cafeteria just to chat and gossip. Greek Life: I recommend anyone that wants to become active to join a fraternity/sorority, whether is it Greek or non-greek, or business, all will equally keep you occupied. It really depends on which group you clique with the best.. but Greek life gives you the option to always have something to do.. 6 years ago when I first came to town, I believe the Greek Life was more lively as there were more frat houses.. now it seems there are no official ones.. just houses.. Spring Splash, on campus $10 Concerts: Take advantage of them!!! Usualy the concerts are 10$ with the student card and have had some pretty big names there.. Xzibit, 112, SNoop, Yellowcard, Jurassic 5... Dating Scene: The social circle is quite small, and population as a whole at UCR is rather small.. So word gets out fast.. if you're a private person, better to not date too much on campus.. Gossip is huge as there is not much else to do but for people to gossip.. Thats a big thing to watch out for.. everything and any rumors possible can and will be made up.. so prepare! Party Scene: Every night people are partying, mostly at houses, dorms or apartments.. People learn to hustle and eventually master procrastination.. as horrible as that is.. but unless you're in the Bio-med program.. it's not an incredibly difficult school to do well in classes, if you have somewhat of a brain.. Not to say that is a bad thing.. esp if you plan to apply to grad school.. land at least a 3.5 gpa, and you're good to go. Weekends: There are not a lot of people left from friday-sunday.. mainly because half the people are locals.. or they'll drive 45 min to go to Orange County or San Diego to visit friends.. but many of the students from Nor Cal may be in town. Sports teams: Baseball team was pretty good when I was there, not sure how they are now. The soccer team was pretty good as well. The unfortunate thing about UCR is that there is no football team, nor do we know if they'll ever build one. There are many dance troupes which are highly renown such as 909 to join.. or even to just go and watch at their events. There are also a lot of activities I wish I had researched about, such as on campus plays, etc.

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The most popular team on this campus would probably be between the soccer team and the basketball team. Everybody goes to those events. However, I believe if we had a football team that would probably be the most popular. I was involved with the Lift Every Voice Club. It was a spoken word club that allowed poets like myself to come together and share our work with each other. I'm not really a spoken word type of girl, but it was interesting to meet students who have been involved with it since their high school years. Yes, there are students in dorms who leave their doors open. It really depends on the residence hall. For example, I live in East Lothian, and sometimes the doors are open, it really just depends on the people. I personally never keep my door open. I like my privacy, but I have friends who stay in AI and their doors are always open, no matter what time of day it is. We do have guest speakers, it depends on what department you're in. For my Environmentalims course we had guest speaker Vandana Shiva come and speak. I'm always getting emails about auditions for plays so I'm assuming that plays are pretty popular here. There are a lot of couples on this campus. It's normal to see a couple holding hands walking around campus. I met my closest friends because they knew some of my friends in Northern California. For example, my close friend Mia was bestfriends with my cousin, even though I had never met Mia before attending this school. My other close friend Helen was bestfriends with one of my friends back home, even though I had never met Helen prior to this either. My other close friends that I met here live in East Lothian with me so I see them all of the time. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I'm usually studying or listening to music. Every year UCR has an annual block party, which is a huge back to school event. They offer different varieties of food and we usually have a guest performer. This year Big Sean performed at the Block Party. People party pretty much every weekend, not during finals week though. In the beginning of the school year there were parties every weekend. Fraternities and sororities are taken very seriously here. I personally wouldn't join, but a lot of people are interestes in becoming apart of a brotherhood or sisterhood. Last weekend I was studying for finals. On a Saturday night I can go to a party without drinking, or I can go watch movies with my friends in their dorm rooms. I'm not really a drinker or a smoker so I don't need to drink or smoke in order to have a good time. Whenever I'm off campus I'm either shopping or going to the movies. We have buses that go to the Moreno Valley Mall and the Tyler Mall.

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When I was a freshman, I lived in East Lothian which is a co-ed hall that consisted of about forty other freshmen. East Lothian is a part of the Lothian building with the other side being West Lothian. In my opinion, both sides of the Lothians are the most social dormitories on campus. One reason is because we have more students per hall than Pentland plus the halls are less cramped than Aberdeen-Inverness so there's more room to group together and talk. In my hall, a lot of students kept their doors open so if I'm walking down the hall I'll be able to walk in and talk to whoever lived in the open room or at least wave. Open doors were more common during the first few weeks of school but they were closed more often during midterm/finals week. I met my closest friends through the dorms and athletics. A few of my closest friends now are the ones I lived with in the dorms. The other friends I have made I met through athletics (some on softball, some on track, some on soccer). In a few instances, I have made friends through my upper division classes where the class size was smaller and the time was longer. If I am awake at 2am on a Tuesday I am either... a) Pulling an all-nighter for a paper I procrastinated on (Most likely) b) Satisfying my munchies at Denny's with my friends (Likely) c) Partying (Likely) d) At a hookah lounge on University (Likely) The most important traditions/events on campus are Block Party/Heat/Spring Splash/Homecoming. All of these events involve concerts, dancing, great food, games, giveaways, and awesome post-parties. We have had big time artists come to our campus to perform and everyone just goes crazy and enjoys themselves at these events because it's just a time to kick back and have fun with your friends. Last weekend I woke up and walked to a little sandwich shop next to campus called Sub Station that makes the best sandwiches in Riverside. I promise that big chains like Subway and Togo's has nothing on this little mom and pop shop. After a quick lunch I took the bus to Moreno Valley,which is a town about ten minutes away from Riverside, and shopped for Christmas gifts at the Moreno Valley Mall and went to the two dollar movie theater (which is a great place for some entertainment if you're low on cash). My friend then picked me up and we went to Happy Hour at Duke's Bar and Grill which is only a hop, skip and jump away from campus. The next day I woke up and called my friend up who was bored just like I was. Our solution? Disneyland. Yep, we hopped in the car and went to Disneyland, which is only a short forty-minute drive away.

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The school-related student activities scene at UCR is great. There are plenty of student groups that make an impact on campus. Most of the ones I'm familiar with are involved in community service and student wellness. I'm the president of a mental health club called Active Minds, and our chapter caters to UCR college students. We put on programs that aim to de-stigmatize mental illness and spread awareness about the importance of prioritizing mental health. Past programs have included bringing mental health speakers like Jordan Burnham on campus, hosting therapy dogs for students to interact with during finals week, and setting up a student panel around topics such as suicide, depression, and body image. The turnout for student-led campus activities depends how well they are advertised, but campus-wide events that bring in musicians - such as HEAT or Spring Splash - tend to have massive student participation. Athletic events don't usually get very much attendance. UCR couldn't be classified a "party school," but it does have a party scene - especially if you're involved in a fraternity or sorority. Since I'm not involved in a sorority, I met most of my friends through the honors program, while I was in the dormitories as a freshman, and through the various clubs I'm involved with. There are several nightclubs near UCR, and they often host "college nights" that allow students to enter at waived or discounted rates. The dating scene at UCR is moderate - if you're looking for romance there are many ways (frats, clubs, gym, class) to meet others. It's possible to have a long-term relationship at UCR, just as it's possible to have multiple flings or stay single. Thursday nights are usually the most social nights of the college week, because a significant portion of the student body will go home during the weekend. If you have the munchies during the week, there's a place called University Avenue with restaurants like Fatburger, Pho Vinam, Denny's, and Del Taco. University Ave also has a movie theatre. Because of the large Asian population at UCR, shops like Ten Ren's Cafe and Boba Tea House can also be found near campus. If you and your friends want something to eat outside of campus, those spots are generally where you will go.

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I'm not going to lie: If I could major in Socializing and Meeting New People, I would be golden. Like any girl heading off to college, I was nervous about "fitting in" and finding friends at a large school. But at UCR, there are tons of ways to meet exciting people without even stepping outside your dorm. I live in East Lothian, and any given day at least half of my floor's doors are wide open. The first week, also known as "Zero Week", I was in other people's rooms getting to know them whenever I wasn't sleeping. My best advice for incoming freshman? Live in the dorms, preferably EastLo or Aberdeen/Inverness (A+I). You won't regret it. My second piece of advice? Go Greek! I went through formal sorority recruitment at the beginning of this year, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. Not only did I meet hundreds of friendly women, I am also getting the chance to improve myself as a leader, scholar, and philanthropist. Greek Life offers so many ways to get involved, but if it isn't your deal there are tons of other clubs to join. Surf Club, Political Ideals Club, dance crews: we really do have something for everyone, and if not, why not start your own club? That'll sure impress your future boss during a job interview. Sporting events don't dominate the social scene, but I've been to a few soccer and basketball games. People paint their faces and wear their tartan, and it's a great stress reliever to scream for the Highlanders in the stands for a few hours. These events also tend to attract tons of freshmen, so they're an awesome way to meet new friends. Last weekend, I went out for tacos at a delish local restaurant, saw a movie with some sorority sisters, and went to a friend's birthday party. You can also take a trip to LA and check out the nightlife there, as well as the other college campuses near by like Cal Poly Pomona or Northridge.

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The most popular student activities, or at least activities where I've seen the most students congregate on campus for, are the various outdoor concerts that the Associated Student Body holds. We get some pretty awesome performers, so the attendance is always high. While I'm personally not in a fraternity, I would say that most students here are involved in some sort of fraternity or sorority. The gym is also a popular location on our campus. They have an array of exercise machines and free weights for students to use. Another popular activity that students really get involved with is intramural sports. This is actually how I met most of my friends during freshmen year. A bunch of us guys decided that we wanted to form a team for IM basketball, so we were able to get to know each other a little bit better every Tuesday night from 6-7:30 pm. Like I've mentioned before most student outings outside of campus revolve around grabbing a bite somewhere. Sushi Asahi, an all you can sushi restaurant, is one of the more well known restaurants in the Riverside area that students constantly attend. Every weekend or so, you'll find a party somewhere near campus. Most of the time it might be a frat or sorority party, but there are those few that have people just wanting to take shots and play beer pong. A little tip, bring your own booze. An organization that I am personally involved with is the Undergraduate Business Association @ UCR. Their main focus is helping students build a strong network that they can utilize once they are out of college. It is a doorway to potential internships and you get to meet people that are studying the same thing as you are. Clubs are not limited to any subject or activity whatsoever, you can find a club that pertains to almost any interest, such as paintball, guitar, gaming, etc.

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One club I am involved in is the apple of my eye. It’s called Senryu Taiko. Taiko is a form of Japanese drumming with large, wine-barrel size drums. Senryu was one of the first college groups to sprout up in the UC system in the 90’s., and I am proud to be part of that history. I first joined because I had missed performing in high school on the color guard team. Although taiko is drastically different, it is a high-energy style of music that is a 100% crowd pleaser at any event, whether it’s a school assembly or a festival. And trust me, there is nothing more euphoric then a crowd cheering for an encore. Go ahead and Google it: you know you want to. If anything, taiko also saved me from that dreaded Freshman Fifteen. There is no shortage of clubs in campus: a club will save you from the dreaded “dorm hermit” syndrome. But there are also other things to do on campus, and what’s great is that the campus is small enough to get anywhere within fifteen to twenty minutes, walking. The HUB is home to popular eateries, and La Fiamma’s build-your-own-pasta is amazing. The Rec Center is the place to go for basketball games and there’s always something going on at the baseball fields. On Wednesdays at noon, bands from around the school and community come and play at the Bell Tower. The Village is a short walk away and boasts a movie theater and plenty more restaurants: in general you definitely won’t go hungry here! There are always events going on and presentations in the theatre: from plays to culture club nights and festivals, to taiko performances (that’s Senryu!) and famous guest-speakers like Gary Marshal and Maya Angelou.

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There are no groups on campus that are more popular than the others, and I would say most groups, since there are hundreds of student organizations and fraternities, are equally popular. Sororities and groups set up their symbols and tables around the bell tower and interact every afternoon. I was involved in the Muslim Student Association and a political group called Students for Justice in Palestine. We often created events with groups like the African Student Union and the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). We brought out speakers and did fundraising for certain causes like the earthquake in Haiti, and raised awareness on occurrences like the Gaza massacre. Organizations and Departments bring guest speakers to campus everyday. I met my closest friends through these student organizations and I continue to keep in touch with them today. I also met my fiancé the same way. Athletic events like basketball games and softball games are not as popular as the huge annual concerts like Spring Splash and The Heat, but they are important to many students regardless. There are also numerous plays on campus, that often times have packed houses. Parties happen moderately, since students are quite studious, but they happen more often around the beginning and the end of the quarters, however there are many things students do that actually don’t involve drinking, like going to the movies, going out to dinner, on a road trip, to the beach or shopping, to downtown riverside or simply hanging out on campus. Last weekend, I went out to dinner with my friends at an outdoor shopping mall called Victoria Gardens.

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The most popular organizations would have to be the frats and sororities. They are always in the center of campus even during gale force winds. However, they are not that important to join. Some athletic events become popular, but only if UCR is playing a well known team like USC. On campus there are several events held like poker nights on Wednesdays where students compete for gift cards and entry is free. There are battle of the bands concerts as well as shopping boutiques that are erected once a month in the center of campus. Every year there are three huge concerts held on campus. One in the beginning of the year, one in February, and one in the Spring. Popular artists like Lil John, The Dirty Heads, Gym Class Heroes, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Common, and Kid Cudi have all performed at UCR. These concerts are by far the mot popular. As a freshman living in the dorms is the best way to meet new people and make friends. The roommate I am currently living with is a guy I met freshman year and is one of my best friends. My girlfriend I met my freshman year and she happened to live on the floor just above me. On typical weekends there are restaurants about a 20 min walk from campus that offer good food as well as a movie theater for entertainment. Party night at UCR is on Thursday though I never understood why since Friday would make more sense to me. But that is the day a people tend to party often unless it is finals week. UCR offers a wide variety of things to do and though some are quite popular the only ones that matter are the ones that interest you.

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UCR's Greek system is huge. Maybe not as prevalent as Arizona State, but every corner you turn, a student is donning some sort of apparel stitched with Greek letters. Most parties on campus are thrown by the Fraternities. Our Athletics program works hard to promote throughout the season, but most students on campus don't even show up to the basketball games. I am part of the Highlander girls dance team, so I feel the ramifications of this huge lack of student pride. Unfortunately, many of our athletic events are left awkwardly empty. There are also many special-focus interest groups, for example: business orgs, writing clubs, Filipino societies. In their spare time, people usually are just glued to their own computers are hiding out in their own rooms. There are 3 major dorming facilities here, occupied mainly by freshmen, but certainly AI is the most social (doors open, communal living rooms) and Pentland is the most anti-social (you need to unlock 3 different doors just to reach your room). People are open-minded about drinking, sex, and substance usage. Because Riverside is so small and boring, the best thing we can do within a 15-minute driving range is go to the mall, movies, or a Korean BBQ place. Other than that, I know many people who frequently drive to LA or San Diego to get away on weekends. UCR is largely a commuter school. The one parking lot that they allow commuters to park in is always bustling and completely full, making students late to class. On weekends the campus is completely empty, bookstore closed, restaurants barren.

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