Fraternities are a large part of the activity in Norman, but they are not the only thing to be involved in. I haven't been in a fraternity and I've had no shortage of things to do. Freshman year was great for me, because living in the dorms was a blast. I roomed with a guy that I didn't know and he is now one of my best friends. I actually still hang out with a group of guys that I met in my hall just because of our proximity while living in the dorms. Even if you aren't great friends with your roommates, there are still a lot of different activities that you can be a part of. There are about 300+ student groups on OU's campus. One of my friends joined the ultimate frisbee club and has been competitively competing with other colleges. I actually joined the rugby club and was able to play for a year and make some awesome friends there (unfortunately I had to bow out due to injuries). There is also a great music scene here in Norman. Local bands play a lot of shows on or near campus, making it very easy to find great music without having to pay a lot or travel far. I'm also involved in a campus ministry with my church, Antioch Community Church. I've grown really close to the people that I've met within the ministry and they have become my second family. There is no shortage of faith-based/religious groups, this being the Bible belt, but thankfully there is not a climate of dissent or hostility directed at those not involved.
Greek life is HUGE! To get involved on campus, greek society is a great place to start. I met all my closest friends in my sorority and found out about ways to get involved on campus and also received advice about classes to take and classes to steer clear of. Also, Crimson Club Ambassadors is a prestigious group to apply for once you've built up a few activities/offices on your college resume. Football events are definitely popular and you'll find it difficult to get tickets if you aren't johnny on the spot about signing up at the beginning of the year. Freshman.. you might be out of luck, sorry. Basketball is not quite so popular. Students go to games, but it is not the community event like football is. Weekend nights are great in norman. There is always a theatre production on campus or a band/concert on Campus Corner. If you visit Norman, Campus Corner is a must see. There are lots of tasty restaurants popping up all the time. Also, check out the little boutique shopping spots around there. Off campus, students can go to Lake Thunderbird for waterskiing/wakeboarding/fishing/etc. Norman is full of excellent eateries, great shopping, fun bars. The Mont is basically a historic landmark. A bar that has been there since way before the dinosaurs. You must go there and get a Swirl.
Greek life is very popular at the University of Oklahoma. Some go as far as to say OU is a greek-run school, but I would not go that far. There are plenty of other organizations that have great participation that do great things for the community. Many students are involved in the University of Oklahoma Student Association, OU's student government. However, not all of these students are political science majors. They are engineers, event planners, marketing majors, business majors, and so much more. They help plan and put on all kinds of events for the campus body as a whole: Welcome Week, Dance Marathon, College Bowl, a speaker series filled with all kinds of interesting topics, Homecoming, University Sing, and a film series shown at the student Union. The students at OU are, as a general rule, very open and friendly. You can find them laughing over a late-night breakfast fun in a dining hall or playing glow-in-the-dark ultimate frisbee on the practice soccer fields. People at OU find their best friends by getting involved in something they love, whether that be Cake Club (yes, we actually have one of those), Quidditch Club, student government, greek life, theater, dance, or any number of multicultural groups.
There are over 300 student organizations on campus, not to mention intramural and college-level sports teams. I am involved in both the Student Longboarding Association, the OU Mascot Team, University Singers, and the Non-Profit Leadership Student Association. The Longboarding Association meets up and goes for group rides and board maintenance projects. It's a great way to meet new people and hang out with people with similar interests. Not everyone leaves their doors open, but all the friendly people do (like me!). I met my closest friends through University Singers and various other organizations. Parties are constantly going on, but they are predominantly centralized in the Greek community. Hundreds of events happen all semester, every semester. There are plenty of things to do on weekend nights besides drinking, including club activities and hanging out with friends! The Union Programming Board is an organization that spends all of it's time and energy working to create fun events that all OU students would enjoy. While there is a mall, Main Street Norman, and Campus Corner, there are so many things going on on-campus that people rarely go off-campus.
The most popular groups on campus are the greek organizations, but outside of that the College Republicans have the largest membership. The most common activities on campus seem to be drinking and studying, but there are many things to do outside of that (I personally enjoy frisbee golf). There are plenty of ways to get involved on campus, whether it be through a greek organization or one of the 100+ clubs. I would say that the average student at OU drinks a considerable amount. On the weekends, students who are under 21 typically attend house parties, which are plentiful around campus. Students who are of age go to Campus Corner, which is the primary bar area for OU students. I personally enjoy going to places such as Logan's or Brother's on Campus Corner, but there are plenty of options outside of that. There are also bars on Main Street, which are frequented by locals and hipsters. As far as things on the weekend that don't involve drinking, there are usually activities at the student union such as movie nights. Drugs are fairly common at OU, but are usually not out in the open.
I am an older student so my comments on these subjects are limited a bit. I am a hair stylist and have met a lot of students outside of class "cutting hair". Many students appear to be serious about school/goals. I understand the Fine Arts Department is highly regarded and many aspiring dancers attend O.U. When going out with my last boyfriend to various clubs on campus everyone seems to have a great time. (lots of good looking people) The sorority/frat scene has always been big here and O.U. Football is of course a big deal. Students here are eclectic, friendly, studious, par-tiers and basically decent to be around. I have read reviews that there are a lot of religious people here in the Bible belt, but I have not seen any major band wagon. One time in three years I heard a "street preacher" on campus for those who wanted to stop and listen. Was not a problem and kind of interesting/out of the ordinary. Never lived on campus so can not help with that, but if you are up late during the week nights you are not at a club past normal close times 12-2:00 ??
The most popular student organizations on campus are Greek life and student congress. Many undergrads choose to rush a fraternity or sorority. Also, the student congress, called UOSA, is an extremely active organization, with many students choosing to participate. Football is HUGE at OU. Whether or not you are a football fan, you are guaranteed to have fun at an OU foorball game! They are by far the biggest athetic games that students attend every year. There are performances and other activities that are available to students if you choose to participate. Theatre and dance hold performances all the time. There are movies that play in the union every weekend. The Huff (our recreation center) is always busy with students. Whether you like to drink or not, you can find other students and groups that are like you. There are people that like to party and drink, but if that's not your thing then you could easily find other people like you.
There are tons and tons of clubs. Every major pretty much has a club which is a good way to meet people that have the same classes as you so you can study together. There are lots of prestigious speakers that come I've seen Bill Clinton and Al Gore; George Bush Senior came and there have been a variety of others. There are free movies at the Union pretty frequently (recent movies). Greek life is very big at OU, but there are things to do if you aren't Greek as well. Sporting events are huge, especially football. Basketball is also big. All other sporting events are free to students. I went to a Mens gymnastics tournament; it was really fun. There are lots of parties. If you are 21 Campus Corner is a blast with a lot of bars. If you don't drink there's also stuff to do. There are a lot of bible study groups and that kind of thing. Partying and social stuff isn't just on the weekends. I study a lot, but I party a lot too.
OU is very much centered around two things: football and drinking. if you don't like that, then OU might not be such a great choice for you. My friends and i played quite a lot of beer pong in our day, and we frequented the bar scene. Thursday night is a big bar night at OU, because friday and saturday are often taken up for greek date parties and so forth. The dorms were pretty ok, and we did some partying there as well. Its kinda hard for me to say what to do on the weekends that doesn't involve beer, because most of mine did. and i was totally ok with that. The one thing that everyone must do at least once is make the pilgrimage down to Dallas for OU/Texas. Even if you don't go to the game, just going down for the party weekend is an experience in itself. Even alumnus tend to find their way to Dallas that weekend, and it is always a good time, no matter the outcome of the game.
The most popular organizations are the honors societies and Greek organization. I'm involved with English Club---it's not very big, but it's interesting. We do a book drive every year. Students leave their doors to their dorms open when they're inside their dorms or nearby but not otherwise. Athletic events are extremely popular, theater not so much. Some guest speakers are popular, some aren't. I know nothing about the dating scene. I met my closest friends in the dorms, in English Club, and randomly. At 2 a.m., I'm either studying or wasting time on my computer. I know nothing about traditions/events except Homecoming. People party a lot, but not everyone. Frat/Sororities are important to many, but not to all. Last weekend I worked, did homework, and ate out. On a Saturday night, you can go to the movies or eat. Off-campus, I shop, eat, etc.