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University of Chicago

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What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Clubs/organizations: I personally am not overly involved in student clubs on campus (We call them "RSOs" for Registered Student Organizations) but this mainly has to do with my personality type. (Not especially a "joiner".) However, I still feel very involved with campus, because most campus events are open to everyone and organizations are always welcoming new members. Especially popular groups on campus are University Theater, Women in Business, Peer Health Exchange, Model UN, just to name a few. (THERE ARE A TON.) This is one of the things I love about Chicago, if you want to join a club, they are always there, but there is no pressure if they are not really your thing. Dorm Life: Dorms sort of develop their own personalities. The college is divided into houses...your house (think Harry Potter...) consists of the people you live and eat with. You can be as involved or uninvolved with house activities as you want. We have house tables in the dining halls so you almost never have to sit alone. Your house sponsors trips and activities such as going out to dinner, going to see shows, and movie nights, so if you are kind of shy at making your friends on your own this is a good way to get to know people. It depends on the night as to whether or not doors are open or closed or if people are being rowdy or quiet. (Most of the time pretty quiet...) Everyone feels very safe leaving their doors unlocked, and it is not unusual to have a random techno-music study break in the hall at 2:00 in the morning. Dating/Social Scene: I think that the dating is pretty typical of any college campus. There are people who date exclusively, there are people who hook up casually, there are people that are seemingly asexual. People party Friday and Saturday nights (this is probably my biggest complaint about the school....It would be nice to have the option of going out more than one or two nights a week, but oh well) Parties are usually held at the frat houses or apartments around campus...word generally travels by mouth. Most of the frats charge a $5 cover to cover alcohol costs, which I found unusual, but apparently it is to make up for the low dues of being a member here. I know a lot of people involved in Greek life, though I think that is the nature of being someone who likes to go out a fair amount, because officially only somewhere around 10% of the student body is affiliated. I am not personally, but my best friend is, and they are generally very welcoming at the parties. When we go off campus pretty much we eat, eat, eat. There is SO much good food in Chicago and so many diverse neighborhoods. The dining halls close at 2:30 on Saturdays, so we usually use that as a day to go out and explore the city and have dinner. We also hit up museums and shows....though it takes at least an hour to get anywhere on public transportation so sometimes laziness gets the best of us. Overall, the social life is what you want it to be, but there is no way to get around how much studying is necessary at this school. That being said, I have found some of the best friends in the world here, so even when I'm in the library in the middle of the night working on a terrible paper it is hard to be miserable.

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Some popular groups on campus include RBIM (Rhythmic Bodies in Motion) which puts on a dance show every year, MODA (which does fashion shows/magazine publications), Model UN (for both college and high school kids), acapella groups, Off-Off and Occam’s Razor (Improv/comedy group), etc. There are hundreds of activities and clubs here. If you want to do something, you’ll find it. And if not, you’ll be able to start it. Students here generally leave their doors open, but it highly depends on what dorm you live in. Pierce, Max, and South are known as the most social dorms. Other dorms, such as Snell-Hitchcock, BJ, etc., have a reputation for being where more typical/stereotypical UChicago kids tend to live. However, I hear they’re very nice and that those dorms tend to have closer, tighter houses. Athletic events, guest speakers, and theater are just a few of the things available on campus. Students here are very involved, and on any given day, you can find something new and interesting to do. The dating scene is what you make of it, but it’s certainly not as bad as people make it seem. I can say meeting people is the same way. Some people choose to solely hang out with their housemates, but lots of students try to branch out by meeting people in classes, activities, at parties, etc. If I’m awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I’m most likely “doing homework” in the lounge while actually watching a movie or playing some ridiculous game with my housemates. UChicago also has really nice traditions and events that happen every year. $1 milkshakes at the C-shop every Wednesday, Blues + Ribs, 24-hour dance marathon, Fall Formal, Summer Breeze (huge concert), etc. People party as much or as little as they want. I know students who go out once a week to students who go out four nights a week. It depends on your schedule and how you balance your work, but it’s definitely possible to do both. Sororities and fraternities aren’t the most important thing on campus, but they definitely have presence. It’s not overbearing, but it’s here if you want it. Last weekend, I laid out in the main quad, played Frisbee, studied outside, went to a frat party later that night, came back and watched a movie with my housemates, went to a free hip-hop class through RBIM, worked out at Ratner (gym) and caught up on some TV, went downtown for Saturday night dinner, came back and went straight to an apartment party thrown by an upperclassman in my house, and spent the rest of the weekend taking pictures of Chicago for a photography project. There’s also no pressure to drink here. If you want to, alcohol is definitely available. But for those who don’t, it’s no loss. You can go to frat parties, but there’s also tons of things to do downtown in Chicago, docfilm movie showings on campus, etc.

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There are over 500 Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) here at UChicago. They range from cultural organizations, student support groups, politically related groups to sports teams, greek life and a host of others. Athletic events are not the most popular thing on campus, however, our sports teams do very well in their competitions. I think my favourite RSO that I'm involved with is Model UN (MUNUC). We do not compete but we organize a Model UN conference for high schoolers in downtown Chicago. We spend weeks upon weeks simulating, writing papers and thinking of how to make our committee the best. Then we spend a weekend conducting the conference at a REALLY nice hotel, a weekend that immediately follows the first round of exams so it's quite fun. The students are great, and we have fun providing them with an educational even while at the same time ensuring that they too enjoy themselves. Students here are VERY warm and friendly. My dorm is one of the most social dorms on campus. We have small bedrooms but huge lounges so people are forced to socialize. Also the communal, co-ed bathrooms are just another aspect of how far our social skills and experiences are stretched. Students will prop open their doors and you cannot help but stopping by to say hello, to be offered a snack or just join in on an interesting conversation, movie or video game. We're up pretty late (average bedtime is about 2AM) and of course there are those that pull the regular all-nighters while taking breaks to engage in a game of Super Smash! People drink do drink a lot here, usually at some frat party on the weekend but it is not overdone. Of course, it's a college campus so you're going to have the regular drunk, wasted people staggering the sidewalk and random people hooking up. Lots of students date and are engaged in what we refer to as 'housecest'. There are however a few awkward people that remain in the minority here at UChicago. We have really random events and traditions here, like the track team streaking through the library in finals week, polar bear run in winter, kuvia festival, Summer Breeze concert and my favourite Shake day on Wednesdays at the one of the 12 coffee shops on Campus.

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There are multiple groups on campus and they are separated into different sectors. Multicultural groups are some of the most fun to get involved with and I am involved with PanAsia. Through this group, I have gotten to meet with artists and stars from all over the world and bring them to U.Chicago to celebrate Asian American culture. We have a lot of greek life on campus as well and they host parties, fundraisers and events for the schools. My friends who are in these programs really love it and say that they have met life long friends there. Our fraternity brothers and sorority sisters are not like those at other schools though because they do mingle with other students and meet the high standard that our school sets for academics. Pre-professional programs are also very common in different kinds of jobs. Finance, consulting, marketing, medicine and another progressional all have groups on campus that give relevant experience to our major since we are a liberal arts school. I am involved with one called Eckhart Consulting and I have gotten to do consulting work for a number of different clients in the city of Chicago. We also just have a bunch of different organizations such as MUN, Mock Trial, Debate, and Student Government. We also have many clubs started that are for entrepreneurship and for those interest in sports. Bascialy, there are a million things to do on campus and when you are not participating in clubs, you can do other things. On a typical Saturday night, there are parties where you can go drink and be social. But for those who don't want to drink or want to party in a different setting, there are other things. We have Doc, which provides cheap movie screenings of recent movies every weekend and people go out to dinner in all kinds of places such as Chinatown or downtown. We can go shopping or just hang out with friends at people's apartments. People go to the Chicago Theater for shows and on weekends, our school hosts large events such as a Spring Carnival, concerts with Wale and sports games. You name it, you can do it at U.Chicago.

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As mentioned, the UChicago student body is incredibly diverse and hard to pin down in to many common categories. Many students do not participate in organized student activities, but are incredibly active in their work or personal passion. Many students are RSO(Recognized Student Organization) maniacs, holding leadership positions in multiple student activities. Among our largest student networks would include: Model United Nations, University Theater, A Capella (various groups), investment/consultancy groups, and a wide variety of cultural/ethnic associations. While attendance at varsity athletics is certainly lacking, recent years has seen drastic increase in popularity. Informal athletics, on the other hand, plays a huge part in student life. Over 50% of students participate in intramural sports, and many more play pick-up sports, play club sports, or frequent one of the athletic centers. One essential part of student life on campus is the "House system", that much like in Harry Potter, places students in a residential "House". This house participates in IM sports, takes house trips, and eats together at the dining hall. For many, this is the main source of their social life. Besides these varied forms of "organized" social life, Chicago and the University offers a cornucopia of entertainment options. On campus there are well attended lectures and seminars every day of the week, and student performances galore from theatrical and musical groups. In Chicago, these opportunities are multiplied. Due to the diverse interests of the student body, there is something for anyone here. If you want to be a part of Greek life and frequent fraternities every weekend, you can. If you never want to even see Greek life, and rather see life in Greektown and the rest of Chicago, you can do that to. While there are more popular activities, nothing is held above all else here.

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Yeah, there’s fun stuff to do on campus. Apartment parties and frat parties. Dorm life is pretty active. Nightly screening of awesome movies at the school movie theater (old stuff, new stuff, main-stream stuff, independent stuff). Every year there is a big crazy scavenger hunt that involves wild stunts and road trips and other tomfoolery. There is also the annual Latke Vs. Hamentashen debate where prominent academics debate the merits of these two food items. While I was there I had did comics for one of the school papers – it was super easy to get into and fun. There are a couple of cool dive bars in the neighborhood. No real sports bars that I can remember, though that may have changed now that pretty much every bar I go to nowadays has 4 or 5 plasma TVs on the walls (there was one campus bar that you needed school ID to get into that was pretty nice). There are a couple of places on campus to play pool and foosball. I think maybe they built a bowling alley, but I’m not sure about that. The athletic facilities are pretty good and there is a healthy IM sports program. There are also some nice museums, restaurants and bookstores on campus. Sports isn't a huge part of campus life, but U of C does have a baseball, basketball, and football team (among others) There is a greek life and they have pretty nice houses, but it's not that big of a deal. There are sororities, but they are not allowed to have houses (at least that's what I was told). There were always pretty good guest speakers (I sat outside with Kurt Vonnegut while he smoked a cigarrette when he stopped in to give a talk). I did not drink at all in college and I managed to have a good time.

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First-years begin in their houses-- they pick their dorm and are typically related by a love of similar things and personality. These are the people typically spend late nights with, study with, and play intramural sports with. Often, this is where the friends come from. Right away, students are thrown into our mix of 350 registered student organizations. We have a large variety, from modern to shakespearean theater, to quidditch and archery, to drinkers with a writing problem and figure drawing, to circus and capoeira. It is very easy to create a club and get events funded once you have several people interested. The biggest events on campus are live concerts and shows, improv and sketch comedy, theater of various kinds, circus, the Lascivious ball, and various cultural shows. There are study breaks, info sessions, or smaller shows almost every day, and therefore opportunities for food. Our traditions are a major part of school spirit. On the smaller end, we have things like $1 Wednesday milkshakes and a capella arch sings. On the bigger end, we have Scav, a 4 day weekend that involves students answering ambiguous clues by traveling cross country, doing creative sports, building reactors, painting giant murals, and gluing large googly eyes to the tops of buildings; and Kuviya, a winter week of 6am aerobics, running naked through the quads, and going to sunrise at the point. Off-campus, Chicago is a city of art and commerce. We are a heart of music, of pubs and restaurants, of tourist attractions, and kayaking. We have everything another big city would have, but live about 15 minutes away, in a quieter lakeside area. It is balance.

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It's hard to say what the most popular organization on campus is, because there isn't really one that dominates UChicago's diverse student clubs scene. I am involved in Rhythmic Bodies in Motion, a dance group that puts on a spring show and has participants from every major and lots of different interests! Dorms have their own culture--the dorm I lived in my first two years, Pierce, was known for its camaraderie, and people usually left their doors open. Athletic events are not the most popular thing to do on campus, but if you want to watch a sporting event, there are always some people there. Guest speakers are more popular, especially because University of Chicago is able to draw some big names. Theater is also fairly popular--the University has several student productions a quarter, as well as the nearby Court Theater, which puts on professional and acclaimed shows. The dating scene is a little thin, but not hopeless! It just depends on how much you put yourself out there in situations where you might meet new people. I've been dating my boyfriend for two years now! People party pretty much every weekend, and fraternities and sororities have a growing influence on campus. My boyfriend and I are both involved in greek life, which is how I've met some of my closest friends. Off-campus, people usually go downtown or explore some of the fantastic Chicago neighborhoods (Chinatown, Wicker Park, etc.). Chicago has fantastic shopping, culture, and nightlife, obviously.

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I am a member of the Organization of Black Students and it is a popular cultural student organization on campus since they have a large presence on campus through staying very active and putting on many events throughout the year. In the dorms where there are a lot of freshmen, students tend to leave their doors open. Athletic events aren't too popular on campus, even Homecoming doesn't seem to attract the largest crowd. I would say guest speakers are more popular. OBS brought political activist Angela Davis to campus for their annual lecture and the room was full past maximum occupancy. I personally wouldn't date anyone on campus, but I do see a few couples sprinkled about. My friends and I usually joke about the lack of options on campus and say that people are together because they can't find anyone else. We tend to date people off campus. I met my closest friends during the orientation week, the week before school started freshman year. If I'm awake at 2 am I'm doing work either for school, an organization, or applying to a job or some other opportunity. There are parties on campus every weekend and during the week there's an event called Bar Night that is held at one fraternity. Last weekend I went to a club downtown and I went to a party on campus. On a Saturday night on campus you can talk to friends, watch movies, do homework, sleep early! Off campus I go to parties, clubs, my internship, movies, eat.

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The University of Chicago has over 500 registered student organizations, over 400 of which are for undergraduates, so there isn't really a group of "most popular" groups. There is literally a club or organization for everyone. A list of all of them can be found at https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/studentlife/activities/clubs.shtml As for activities, most students study/procrastinate more than they do anything else. Indeed, students have to do so much work to succeed at this school. However, we also know how to have fun. Here are some of the things students do: --Fraternity parties on Friday and Saturday nights --Concerts and shows by Off-Off Campus (a well-known improv group) and other student organizations --Free food all over campus all the time --Summer Breeze, a huge concert and carnival held in Spring Quarter (the headliner this year is Ludacris) --Scav, an enormous scavenger hunt that takes place Spring Quarter --Go downtown for concerts, shows, shopping, lots of stuff. The Resident Masters of all the dorms also sponsor awesome trips to Cubs games, concerts (Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang, for example), and other fun things. --Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Fall Quarter --Skating on the outdoor Midway ice rink in the winter --Intramural Sports (think ultimate frisbee and inner-tube water polo) School can be tough, but there are always fun and interesting things to do here.

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