Some of the most popular groups on campus would have to be cultural organizations. Political and activist groups are also popular.
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.
They are all important--everyone will have an argument as to why!
MUNUC, ChoMUN, The Maroon, Phoenix Fund, Women In Business, Mock Trial. Student Government, University Theatre, Rhythm and Jews, Chicago Mens A Capella, Doc Films. UBallet, Council on University Programming (COUP)
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.
Your closest friends will be your housemates. The system is built, it seems, to force interaction between the stereotypical socially reclusive Chicago students, but it works to form close friendships and make the medium sized university feel small. I love that I can walk down the hall to my house lounge and always find a friend to procrastinate with or go to the dining hall by myself and always find someone at the house table to have a conversation with.
Greek life is much bigger than I thought before I came here, but is not at all dominent. I'd say the majority of people I know went to frat parties first week and only return when there's nothing better to do. Apartment parties are a common weekend activity if you know upperclassmen. There's always a million things happening Friday and Saturday nights, though two frats host events every Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, as well. For non-drinkers, there's always a show or a concert or some sort of activity going on. I'd say I know more people who drink then who don't drink, but there is never any pressure to drink or a feeling that one won't have fun if one doesn't drink.
The dorm system is organized into "houses," with whom you celebrate house traditions, play intramural sports, etc. Most people get pretty into them, since they're done with the people you live with. Outside of just dormmates, there are plenty of campus clubs (complete with quirky names) and events; the occasional concert in Mandel Hall is always popular. Fraternity and apartment parties can always be found on the weekends and are typically pretty packed, but certainly not every student is partying, so you get to pick and choose.
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.
While students are involved in all kinds of RSO's (registered student organizations) the two I am most involved in are Peer Health Exchange (and organization that has college students teach health to 9th grade students in Chicago) and my sorority. The students do not take their commitments lightly. My Peer Health Exchange group meets at least once a week as well as teaching once a week. Greek life, while it is growing quickly at Chicago, still allows its students to be as involved as they want to be; a student can do the bare minimum, and just go to chapter meetings once a week, or take on leadership roles, go to every mixer, etc. Because of the house system at Chicago, students often bond heavily with the students in there house and often socialize in their dorm. Students often take advantage of being 20 min from downtown Chicago by going shopping, seeing shows, going to bars, going to concerts, etc. A social person at Chicago probably goes out 3 times a week, but it is definitely not the type of school where there are parties every night of the week.
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.
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.
Most students are involved heavily in at least one RSO (registered student organizations). Some of the more popular are the ethnic RSOs such as SASA (South Asian Student Association) and the economics/investing RSOs (such as BlueChips). Students also participate in political RSOs such as College Republicans and SFS (Students for a Free Society), and performing arts RSOs (University Theater, a cappella, UBallet) are also quite popular. I am personally involved in a cappella on campus, having sung in two a cappella groups and currently serving as music director for one of them.
Athletic events are generally very poorly attended and school spirit is negligible, and instead the largest crowds are gathered by important speakers and performance arts RSOs.
Most friendships are formed in the dorms, as house culture is very strong and you are forced to interact regularly with the same 40-100 people with whom you live. Other friendships are formed in RSOs and in very tight-knit classes and majors (though this is more uncommon). I personally live with and spend most of my time with friends made in the dorms, and other than that mostly hang out with people in my a cappella group.
UChicago has a number of traditions (Kuvia, Scav) that occur every year and awaken the dormant school spirit in a large percentage of students, and some consider these events "the ultimate UChicago experience."
Here's a little peg for my organization: MODA is one of the largest organizations on campus. It puts out two magazines each year which includes student models, writers, stylists, and layout specialists. MODA also has two well-attended fashion shows each year, and students can walk the runway or design the clothes.
Other top student groups include University Theatre, Rhythmic Bodies in Motion (a dance group), and a Capella groups.
And Scav Hunt is HUGE. We were just included in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest scavenger hunt. Past items included bringing wild animals (elephants, lions, tigers) to campus, designing all sorts of cool projects (including a nuclear reactor, which some kid accomplished in his dorm room), going on road trips (one had students headed to Las Vegas with only a bathing suit, ball gown or suit, and an ID!), and more. So popular on campus, and you can be as involved as you want to be (or steer clear entirely).
Model United Nations is very intense at UofC. A lot of students are involved in MUN and the MUN team is ranked as one of the best in the country. Apart from that, ethnical student organizations like South Asian Student Organization or Turkish Student Organization are very active. They always organize events.
Even though a lot of varsity teams are division 3, there are also lots of athletes at UChicago.
Speaking of sports, I am a rower and doing crew is definitely awesome at the University of Chicago. Rowing on the Chicago River and seeing downtown Chicago every morning are just perfect!
I am also a representative for my class hence a member of Student Government. SG works a lot organizing events, distributing money to Registered Student Organizations (RSO) and reviewing RSO applications. It is demanding and at the same time an honor to be in SG.
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.
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.
There's a decent amount of partying, if you look in the right places. The dating scene isn't that great, people seem to be in relationships forever or playing the field forever. I usually hang out with my house, but I have plenty of friends outside the house too. The House System can be kind of sheltering and constricting as far as friend groups go, especially the first year or two.
Again, the social activities are diverse as the students. There are frat parties every weekend, and while they get "lame," they can still be fun. There are also movies, concerts downtown, dinner downtown, on-campus events. Apartment parties.
The one thing about the party scene is that students don't really put a lot of energy into it. This is a good thing rather than a bad thing-- students don't feel pressured to binge drink or rush certain frats and women don't feel pressured to hook up. This also means that frat parties can feel like bar mitzvahs with beer. That's why I think apartment parties tend to be more fun-- it's with people who know each other slightly better hanging out together and dancing rather than a sketchy and anonymous basement.
House life is the cornerstone of your social life. In your first year, your housemates will be your first friends and your connection to apartment parties, upperclassmen, and overall amazing people. Parties are pretty easy to come by with the fraternities having parties every weekend (and even one has bar night on Wednesday) and apartment parties galore. RSOs have parties, too, where conversation will come easily. The dating scene is pretty non-existent; a lot of people hook up at parties or are in serious committed relationships, so there's little middle ground. Greek life is a part of my life on campus--about %15 of campus goes Greek. Greek life is without hazing and very low key, so being a part of one here doesn't necessarily translate to you being straight out of "Legally Blonde." Greek life isn't going to bother you if you're not into it, though. There are plenty of things to do on campus, from theater to music to hanging out in your house lounge with your housemates. Movie marathons with your house will be amazing times. You can always go downtown, too--Chicago is a great city!
This is the Holloween Concert by University Of Chicago Symphony Orchestra on 10/28/06 at Mendall Hall.
The myth with uchicago is that students only do work, that they don't get out and play. This may be true with a certain group on people, but on the whole falls short as a description. There are many parties to go to, and certainly other ways to have fun. The Scav hunt is really quite famous (look it up on wikipedia). Athletics aren't that popular, but we do get a lot of guest speakers (in my freshman year, Bill Gates, Madeline Albright, Steven Levitt who is a professor at Uchicago, just to name a few).
If I were awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I'd probably be either watching Star Trek online, working on a paper, or reading about current events. There are a lot of social activities that don't involve drinking, like going downtown, watching movies on laptops, going to the lake, playing soccer or ultimate frisbee, or attending a free concert on campus. I met my closest friends in the dorms. Athletic events tend not to be popular. I went to exactly one athletic event my whole time here: a football game, first year.
If I'm awake at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday, odds are a few of my friends came into my room before I went to sleep (I'm a bit fanatical about my 8 hours, which is really rare around here) and we started talking. Three hours later, I'm still awake, we're looking up stuff on youtube or Wikipedia and still just talking about whatever. Since I live in the Shoreland, a dorm with apartment style rooms, my roommate probably baked something at some point, and the three of us are probably eating it.
If I'm awake at 2 a.m on a Saturday, I'm probably out at a party, dancing around or eating the chips and dip.
Generally I meet my best friends through the house system and date outside of it (generally meeting girls at school-sponsored clubs and events). You will make very good friends very fast here, probably from your house/dorm, or maybe from class. However, the dating scene is very tricky. Usually people have so much work and such divergent interests that relationships last only a few months. There are notable exceptions to this, however, the most common complaint that I hear is that couples can't spend enough time together because they are always busy with their own activities. It is possible to have good relationships at U Chicago but it is difficult.
People generally find group activities to enjoy together like discussing politics and philosophy in house common rooms or sports like midnight soccer that don't interfere with class schedules. Usually in the common room everyone will be part of some kind of conversation but many of them will be working on homework while participating in the discussion.
Some dorms leave their doors open, some don't. Athletic events are sparsely (at best) attended, probably because the popcorn is worse than the skills displayed. There is usually one frat party a week if you want one, but most people watch movies, leave Hyde Park, or go to apartment parties. Coffeeshops are huge for social interaction, as is the first floor of the library. The dating scene is hard because people here are often socially inept and those that aren't wind up dating in a relatively incestuous group or dating frat boys, in which case... well. Frats actually only constitute something like 9% of the student body. Every year, there is Scav and Summer Breeze in the spring: one, a three day scavenger hunt taken very seriously by about half of campus. The other, a massive concert. I met my closest friends in housing or through RSOs; if you are awake at two am on Tuesday you are studying or watching tv online.
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.
There is a rift between the large portion of the student body that does not party, and the equally large portion that parties regularly. An unusually high proportion of the student body here does not even drink, and does not even on occasion go to parties. Still, as at any university, there are many students here who go to parties multiple times (at fraternities or apartments) throughout the week, and come home loud and drunk late at night. This can be quite obnoxious to students who would rather sleep at night, or to the many students who study late into the night and would appreciate peace and quiet. Still, it is generally true here that you will not be judged for whatever you like to do, unless of course it is directly harmful to those around you. For example, you will not be pressured to drink any more than you will be judged for drinking.
The major annual traditions include Kuvia/Kangeiko (a week of morning yoga in the dead of winter culminating with a naked run from one end of the quad to the other), Scav Hunt (the largest scavenger hunt in the world. rather esoteric event), various Doc Films events, Summer Breeze (carnival on the quads with a music festival in the evening).
Folk Arts Community is awesome. We put on monthly contra dances, quarterly concerts, and a annual dance weeked.
some people leave their doors open.
guest speakers are popular
athletic events not so much
theater is popular
If I'm awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, I'm probably doing homework
Scav, kuvia, and summer breeze are our main traditions
Party nights are wed., fri., sat., but I'm not really into the party scene
I'm not planning on joining a sorority. There are only three on campus. They don't play a huge role. They are there if you want them. The only downside to the greek life is that pretty much every first year in my house joined a frat/sorority. So, we don't really have much of a house identity because everyone is involved in greek life.
Last weekend, I went to our June contra dance. It was fun. It was also reading period, so I studied a lot.
You can do lots of things on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking...homework, watch a movie, go to doc, go to a play, performance etc..., go out to dinner, go out into the city
We went to Lincoln Park Zoo a couple of weekends ago.
Greek life is a little strange. People tend to think they are cooler than they actually are. WYSE is an awesome organization for girls that don't want to join greek life, but still want to have a good group of girlfriends and help out with younger middle school aged girls.
You should be prepared for students to choose homework over everything else.
boring. join the greek system or make good friends with members- they are easily the most social people on campus, and they all do things together
Well, if I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, depending on the weather, I'm doing numerous things: playing Scrabble a/o Candyland with my boyfriend (winter), laying on the beach, looking at stars (autumn), or swimming in botany pond (spring). Downtown Chicago is a short ride away on public transportation, needless to say, there is a plethora of things to do any day, any time, any weather. Just look, and you'll find something, and someone, to do it with.
The dorms are pretty key aspect to your social life as freshmen. Here at UChicago, all the dorms really do have their own distinct personality. Since I don't feel like making an exhaustive list, I will sum it up in saying your social life will vary depending on what dorm you live in. Dorms with predominantly double rooms are going to be more social than ones with predominantly single rooms. Dorms here are also divided into smaller "houses," and you get to know most of these people more than you ever wanted to. There are a lot of house activities (IM sports, dinner trips, etc.), and you can participate in them to whatever extent you want to. UChicago's Greek system is smaller, but fairly active. You will probably be friends with a lot of people in as well as out of them; it's really a personal choice more than a social obligation. As for parties, we are by no means a party school, but if you want to party, it's really not hard to do. The city is also close by via public transportation so that is also a large part of UChicago's appeal.
In most cases, if you want to do it, it's there, and if it's not you can probably find enough support to start up something. Whether it be the amazing improv groups (Off-Off & Occam's Razor), the many dance groups, a capella groups, music groups and the BDSM club (haven't actually seen this one to be honest) there's always something to do 6 out of 7 days of the week on campus, and usually someone you know will be involved in most of these.
And whether it be an economist talking about the carbon tax or a prominent feminist encouraging the masses, the many talks scheduled allow for a fairly cheap way to see and hear from very famous people.
All of this has been said without mention of the city of Chicago!! Although we are not actually in the city, Hyde Park is around 30 minutes from downtown on a decent day and it's always fun to go to some cool restaurant, check out a show or concert, or just stop downtown with some friends for Chipotle.
There's always a way to spend your free time (yes, there is free time at UChicago) if you're willing to band together some fairly apathetic friends for a great time out! :)
If you've not heard it yet, prepare to be disappointed with the almost non-existing Greek life here in the UofC. But I don't care, anyways, since I am not the party type. However, the dorms here are based on the house system, and I guess house tables in the dining hall are geared to bringing students together. And I do love the fact that there will be plenty of house trips maybe to go watch a Cubs game, or go to a restaurant in Greektown, K-Town, etc. We also have a bunch of annual traditions, like Scav Hunt (a series of crazy ideas that students have to fulfill), Assassins Game (prepare to get doused with a water gun on your way to class), and the Kuvia Kungaserk (exercise to the rising sun in winter).
Academic extracurriculars are most popular-Model UN, debate, various campus publications, etc. Lots of people participate in intramurals, and many are on varsity teams, though these are generally unpopular and ignored by the rest of the student body. Most people live in dorms for two years, then cut the cord and get apartments. In the dorms, a formalized house system forges most people's closest friendships and organizes social life in general. The RHs and RAs are generally more laid-back than at other schools--I know very few people here who fear their authority--and people generally exercise that freedom in moderation. Frats and Sororities are present but unpopular, except as a fallback plan for parties on the weekends. Dorms, apartments, and frats all usually party on the weekends, but don't come here expecting a party culture. There are teetotalers, booze-hounds, and everything in between. Weed is present, but somewhat surprisingly unpopular. Off campus life in Chicago offers most anything one could want, but you have to travel a little ways to get any of it.
Make sure to do scav hunt your first year or you will regret it. If your dorm doesn't have a team join the independent team FIST.
Some parties on weekends, and quite a few people are in clubs (though not as many as one would expect).
Dating scene? What dating scene? That is one of the worst aspects of this school. People are so anti-social that the vast majority of the opposite sex (or same sex) you would never want to go out with, not even if they were the last people alive. It is very hard to find a nice, sociable, and fun girl at this school, not to mention attractive, which is almost impossible to find.
Plenty of sex and parties...honestly
UChicago fun is not conventional and so when you become a student your definition of fun (if it entails non-stop parties) will evolve into something that incorporates the many different activities that Chicago has to offer.
It's important to get off campus! This school can get you caught up in doing nothing but work. Organziations and student activities are also a good way to release stress. Cultural organizations are very popular here. I work hard and play hard too. I usually get about 6 hours of sleep a night and I try to squeeze as much fun as I can into my weekends. Many people are into athletics and sports here. The dating scene isn't that great. People are either in serious relationships or not dating at all. The guys here are too scared to start talking with the girls. People party here on most weekends. Off campus, I like to go out to different restaurants or to different neighborhoods in Chicago and get to know the city better.
Frats are more the center of social life for first years, then you go to apartment or dorm parties more. If you don't like the party scene, we have our own campus theater that shows a lot of really great movies (sometimes in advance!) for cheap prices. Also, we're in Chicago. Plenty of stuff to do. Great restaurants, plays, concerts, etc...
People make most of their best friends based on which dorm they live with. Otherwise you meet people at parties, in class, friends of friends. Some people you're not even sure how you met them...
There are lots of clubs on campus. The dance clubs seem to be very popular, as well as club sports. Crew in particular has a lot of students.
Students in dorms do not generally leave their doors open. Guest speakers are really popular, but theater is not a craze here. I met my closest friends in my dorm and in Soul Umoja and in the Organization of Black Students. If I'm awake at 2AM on a Tuesday (which I generally am), I'm either on the phone or putting off music homework.
Cultural RSOs are pretty popular and put on cultural shows every year--the South Asian Students Association's cultural shows usually attract the biggest crowds. University Theater and Doc Films are both huge, and Fire Escape (our filmmaking group) does a decent amount. Dorms are varied--some dorms are more solitary, others more dormlike--there is a dorm for everybody. Traditions can be quirky--an annual naked run through the quads (that usually attracts more spectators than participants) or a week-long scav hunt that sends students on days-long road trips. I remember a lot of late-night conversations--about politics, about music, about anything and everything; the school has a lot of interested and interesting people. Frats are pretty tired, but they exist and have parties. The neighborhood has a lot to offer those who are daring enough to explore Chicago outside of Hyde Park and downtown.
there's a great queer women scene! it's growing and pretty lesbincestuous (but what lesbian community isn't) but very active. there have been a lot of women-only parties this year. the hallowed grounds is also the site of fabulous family-like community.
partying: i party on weekends (including thursday--i can schedule my classes so i have none on friday)...usually apartment parties. i have (and this is a point of some pride) never been to a frat party or to bar night simply because i haven't needed or wanted to. there is enough social life that does NOT revolve around frat boys and cheap beer that it is not hard to avoid that scene, although it's definitely still "normative" and a lot (most?) people engage at one point or another.
alcohol is the primary drug of choice; there's a fair amount of weed and a lot of people use cocaine or aderol to study or work (especially during finals week)...
Your first year (and later years, if you so choose) you'll be in the housing system, which will be a community of between 50 and 100 people in the same building and/or floor. This is a really good arrangement, cause each house provides a sense of community and a home base of friends and contacts that you'll likely stay close with throughout your time here. It organizes intramural sports and fun house activities like Karaoke Night or Casino Night. It's way cheaper to move out and into an apartment in the neighborhood, but I'm staying anyway, cause I'm with such a great group of people. The housing system definitely helps offset the isolation of being alone in a multi-thousand person university. The advantage of being in a multi-thousand person university, though, is that whatever you are into, there will be a really strong community into it too. I joined a gospel choir this year just cause I simply wanted to experience it. Having such a big place with a student body with such a diverse set of interests makes for a lot more opportunities to get involved in what you want to get involved in. Sometimes the groups become a little cult-like, though. That gets sorta creepy. The theater people, the ultimate frisbee people... There are also a bunch of traditions like the university-wide Scavenger Hunt in Spring Quarter that is absolutely awesome and sort of weird.
Last Friday some people from my floor and I went to see Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) as a House trip. I will just say this: I never want to see a man in pink and purple spandex again.
House trips are really fun. You get to spend time with people on your floor and they are usually subsidized with House funds.
Can I write about two things? Too late. My favorite thing to do is to explore. The Gothic architecture is just gorgeous, and there are a lot of hidden places. In all the buildings on the main quad there are these mysterious quotes such as, "Illusion, the occurence of illusions is not an, 20," and "Plants, lamps, chairs, thunder and lightning, rocks, etc, 141." They are often hidden in back staircases, so it's really fun to find new ones. So cryptic, and so cool.
If I had to guess: mock trial and debate would be two of the biggest groups on campus. In terms of sports: I do not have much idea, it seems to be pretty evenly dispersed, but track seems to be pretty intense and when there are track meets a lot of people come and watch.
I'm involved with the Ultimate Frisbee team and they are a great community: most live in the same apartment and they are very welcoming and friendly and most of my friends/acquaintances come from there.
A lot of students leave their dorm rooms empty: the housing system is pretty good: a lot of students bond with their house and make all their friends there.
People party a lot, it's college, fraternities are very important because that is where the majority of parties are held.
On the weekends, I mostly have tournaments: both in ultimate frisbee and in mock trial. Otherwise, I normally go out to eat with my friends, meet up with out-of-town friends or relatives, or go downtown. Occasionally I see shows downtown; I went to Navy Pier once.
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