I can't really say that there are "popular groups" on campus. Since there are so many organizations, it's hard to say that some are more popular than others because people join what they want to. There are so many different organizations that you can join that can tailor to what you like and what you want to do. I am currently a Brother in Alpha Kappa Psi. Alpha Kappa Psi is a professional co-ed business fraternity open to all majors. I have developed more than just professional skills with this organization. I have made great connections and relationships that I know will continue after college. Being apart of a Brotherhood is different than anything I have ever experienced before. At first it was weird to be called a Brother since I'm a girl, but after joining the brotherhood, it made more sense. We have fun together and we help each other grow into amazing leaders that will go on to accomplish so many things. Everyone is welcoming and wants to hear your ideas so that we can all improve together as a Brotherhood. There are a lot of things to do in Gainesville during the weekend. On Friday nights, UF hosts GatorNights at the Reitz Union which is free to all students. GatorNights plays movies that were recently or currently playing in the theater. There are also performances from comedians and magicians during GatorNIghts. Also, GatorNights has different activities that you can do from playing games to making crafts. There are a couple movie theaters in Gainesville to go to as well. The night life I hear is great. If partying is something you're into, there's almost something every night in Midtown or Downtown. Personally, that isn't my scene so on the weekends I usually just stay in with some friends and hang out. Also, as a student you can go to Lake Wauberg and do a lot of outdoor activities like kayaking, playing sports, fishing, and going on a boat. There is a lot to do off campus, you just have to look.
Sororities and Fraternaties are extremely popular on campus for more reasons then for social lives. Going greek helps network for joining other student organizations, senate, and for a job. I am involved in ACCENT (which is a division of student government that brings controversial speakers to campus) through a sorority sister. Dorm life depends on the dorm that you live in. Freshman dorms such as broward and jennings, are very social. The doors aren't usually left open, but are always unlocked. The lobby areas after a night of going out are a post party! Everyone gathers and orders pizza. Although these dorms are social they aren't the nicest. Springs and Beaty (which are suite style) are the nicest but also only allow you to get to know 3 other people vs a whole floor. Athletic events RUN this school. If you aren't into gator football, I dare say that might be a problem. Guest speakers often come, and cater to everyones different interests. Theater isn't very big here, I've been to a couple plays, and to be honest they were really boring and the theater department isn't very good here. Ever year there is Gator Growl (which is advertised to be the biggest college pep rally) in all reality its really pointless to go. The entertainment is mediocre, and the only cool part is the performance at the end, so you can go an hour late. You can party here in Gainesville, probably every day of the week if you wanted to. Monday- Is Swamp night, Tuesday- The Grog, Wednesday- Gator City/XS, Thursdays- Anywhere downtown really, same for friday and Sat. Fake Id's work well downtown, and midtown don't even try, except for the bar Balls, which will take any id that remotely looks like you. Pregaming at a Fraternity for girls (or being in one for guys) has its advantages. Everyone loves pledge season, also known as personal chauffers.
Popular groups on campus usually center on student government, majors or pre-professional such as lawyer, doctor, dental, teacher, or a minority organization. They are involved in various activities such as raising money for various charities, helping out in the community, and basically being involved and getting to know people on campus. I am involved with Alpha Phi Omega a co-ed service fraternity that volunteers with the Girl Scouts and other service projects in Gainesville. Students in dorms don't usually leave their dorms open. Athletic events are HIGHLY popularized. I mean, we are known as "Titletown, USA" because of our back to back basketball championship wins and our Football BCS championship around the same time. I met my closest friends randomly and we've been close ever since. I also met a lot of my friends through my roommates last year and other friends through some classes. People party pretty often in Gainesville. The good thing about it is that the temptation to stay out ALL night is eliminated because clubs and other spots close early, like around 2 in the morning. On a Tuesday if I happen to be awake at 2am it's definitely because I am on facebook. Facebook is an addictive habit for me. On a Saturday night instead of drinking I usually either watch a movie at the Reitz Union where they feature free movies, or go over a friend's house to watch a movie. Lately I've also been going to the gym on Saturday nights and then just going on my computer to check Facebook, hahaha.
There is a huge variety of groups and clubs on campus; there's probably something for every interest. There's usually a student organization to go along with any major, whether its a club or an honors society. A group that I'm a part of the Golden Key International Honor Society, which is an honors society that does some volunteer and fundraising work while also connecting it's members with resources such as scholarships and graduate programs. I'm also planning to join the Anthropology Honors Society. When I lived in the dorms we did not leave our door open, however dorms have many events which students can go to and mingle with each other, such as movie nights and special activities. Athletic events are extremely popular and a big part of campus life, however if you're someone like me who prefers to go to the theater and other cultural events there are plenty of those too, for example I recently attended a Chinese Orchestra. There are also two museum on campus which students can go to for free (and art museum and a natural history museum). I met many of my friends through other friends (I had several friends from high school attend here as well), though I've also made friends through classes. Fraternities and Sororities are somewhat prevalent here, however there are many people who are not involved in Greek life as well. Partying really depends on the person, as well as where you live. For example, apartments near Frat row/Sorority Row tend to have more parties.
I think UF offers a lot of great social events. I really enjoyed seeing Bob Saget and the guys from Myth Busters. I wish I had gone to more sports events, since I only went to the football games. When I lived in Tolbert during my freshman year, I didn't make many friends. I'd say hi to people in the hallway and chat in the kitchen, but I wouldn't go out with anyone regularly (I also only lived there during the Spring semester.) No one ever left their doors open and rarely hung out in the common area. I met my boyfriend at Salsa Caliente, although he is not a UF student. I love the dancing clubs (swing and salsa) but they are also not strictly UF clubs. It's probably 60% 40% of UF/non-UF people. Because I've been so busy with school the last few semesters, I haven't partied that much. When I do, it's usually when a friend from high school is throwing a party, or there's an occasion at work (RepDials for the Florida Fund) to celebrate. I prefer house parties to going to the bars, and I'm not really thrilled to the clubs downtown. I love dancing and going out at night (especially in Europe!) but the Gainesville night life just doesn't do much for me. To me, it is a sterile environment with too many Greeks and not enough genuinely cool people. On most nights during the week, I'm at home taking care of business or studying or else just hangint out wiht my boyfriend.
Like I mentioned previously, there is something for everyone at UF! Greek life is HUGE on campus. But don't feel bad if you don't join in. It's really ok if you don't. There are tons of other activities you can join. There are all kinds of intramural sports clubs, foreign language clubs, music clubs, art clubs, dance clubs...it all depends on what you're looking for and what you're interested in. Sports is really big at UF. You have the football team, the basketball team, baseball, soccer, tennis...even gymnastics! Everyone is really spirited, and they go to the games to support the teams. It's just one more thing you can do on campus. I live off campus, but even so, it's just so much fun. You're close to everything. Orlando is like 1 hour and half away, Jacksonville is just an hour away. Some complexes have parties and they bring food and drinks for everyone. Sometimes, they even hire DJs to come and provide the music. It's really so much fun! The dating scene is not too good, as there aren't that many good looking guys or girls. But that doesn't seem to stop anyone. Parties are pretty intense. They tend to run into the wee hours of the morning. People love to drink here. But no worries...you can still have fun, even if you don't drink!
With over 900 organizations, UF has something for everyone. We have clubs involved in activities like skydiving all the way to the bi annual Zombie Wars that happens every semester. If that number seems slightly overwhelming, the IDEAL organization can help you choose which ones fit you the best after sitting down for a one-on-one interview. Not to mention the many teams we have in our intramural and club sports teams who play anything from basketball to ultimate frisbee. While most students who do party do so on Thursday and Friday night, this isn't the only thing Gainesville has to offer. Every Friday night, the Reitz Union has Gator Nights filled with family fun events like bumper cars and bounce houses. Not to mention that a movie plays in the Auditoriums three times a night Friday through Sunday. Not to mention that the Reitz Union Board has special speakers and performers visiting all year long. Students can get discounted access to concerts, operas and football games. Drake performed in the O'Connell Center this past semester. The city has lots to offer as well including music festivals, skating rinks and laser tag. All in all, if a student looks in the right place, it's going to be pretty difficult to be bored while at the U of F.
Student Government, ACCENT, Student Government Productions, Reitz Union Board, and Greek organizations are the most prevalent on campus. I am involved with a Greek organization but I do not base my life around it. I am involved with many other things as well, including Student Government, Pride Awareness Month, Pride Student Union, and Navigators. Athletic events are very popular here and well-attended. The guest speakers are fantastic, just this past month we had Shaquille O'neal come speak along with Rex Lee and many others. Theater is very niche, students attend popular theater productions such as Cirque de Soleil, which was here last month, but often don't attend student produced productions. The dating scene isn't that great. It's more of a hook up scene. But some people find partners! People party a lot. I would say there is somewhere to be every night but Tuesday and Sunday night. Fraternities and Sororites play a big part on campus, but it is definitely not necessary to be a part of one if you are uninterested. Off campus there is lots to do. There are lots of cool places to hike and explore around Gainesville and Ginnie Springs is not far either!
Student government is really big and involved on campus so lots of people get involved with it. You can play a part in almost anything from hosting concerts to creating advertisements for other organizations. Academically, every major has a corresponding organization you can be a part of to help develop connections. I'm a business student and I'm involved in the Florida Leadership Institute which is a development series aimed to prepare sophomores for what they may see in their business future. Greek Life is pretty big here and is a terrific way to get involved. Even if you're the type of person who doesn't think frat-life is for them, there are frats full of people who feel the same way! When people go out in Gainesville, they either go to the bars at Midtown or the clubs at Downtown. Nightlife here is pretty active and there's always something going on for those nights where you want to go out. Gamedays and tailgates are a huge tradition here. Between students and alumni, its all about GAAAATOR FOOOOTBAAAAAALL! If you haven't seen a game at the Swamp, you have no idea what you're missing.
There are several large organizations on campus. Campus Crusade and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are both well-represented, as are the Jewish and other religious students. In addition, the intramurals at UF are extremely well-organized and offer a wide variety of options for sport and activity. The athletic program here is one of the best in the country without question. Throughout the academic year, there is at least one major sport in full swing, including football, basketball and baseball, as well as gymnastics, soccer and softball. Fraternities and sororities make up about 17% of students on campus, so they are visible but not overwhelming. There are plenty of activities to engage in without drinking, both on and off-campus. The school puts on Gator Nights every Friday night and is always showing free movies. Additionally, there are malls, amusement centers, downtown restaurants, flea markets and Jai-Alai all within 15-20 min of campus.