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University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

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What are the most popular student activities/groups?

There are the athletes that no one sees much of because they are always at practice. Once again there is the Greek Life. There are also House Parties all around Oakland. It is a real good party school, even if you don't visit the Fraternity Houses. However, I have never had a dull day since I decided to pledge. The football and basketball games are especially popular. Be careful tailgating though at the football games. There are always guest speakers, almost too many. Go to these events if your meal plan runs dry. They usually feed you some pretty good food before/after they talk. Also, there is a lot of free food everywhere, just look for the flyers. Dating scene? Don't get a girlfriend/boyfriend the first two weeks of college. You'll be missing all the fun. But yes, some people date. On Tuesday at 2am you are watching TV or procrastinating homework, unless you're a raging alcoholic. Drinking nights can begin on Wednesdays, but traditionally Thursdays. We like to be conservative on our Mondays and Tuesdays. I usually party Weds-Sunday in the beginning of the semester... which gradually becomes Thus-Saturday... which gradually becomes Friday... which gradually becomes not at all. Like I said before, I think fraternities/sororities aren't a solution to finding a good time, but they intensify your entire involvement on campus. You make a really close group of friends, but that does not mean you don't have other friends. I'm rooming with three of my good friends who are not in my fraternity, but I guess that's just how I approach my involvement in Pi Kappa Alpha. But we are the best fraternity on campus, so if you're going to join one, you know where to go. Sigma Sigma Sigma is also a good sorority to join. You can go to the Waterfront which is a brand new section of Pittsburgh that has plenty of shopping, restaurants, museums and theaters to go to. You don't need a car or gas money for anything. That's a definite plus.

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Greek Life is very prevalent on Pitt's campus. But that being said, there are a multitude of other activities to get involved with. Pitt Program Council plans out events and concerts that are held on campus each semester. There are a number of non-social Greek organizations, including business focused fraternities, a community service sorority, honors fraternities, etc. These organizations are helpful because they help build the bond of family, helping one another within the organization, but ultimately hold a greater purpose. There are groups for every major, business, nursing, engineering, health sciences, math, etc. I have gained my closest friends through my freshman year dorm as well as the activities that I am involved with on campus. Unlike big party schools, on week nights I usually stay up until 2 or 3am studying (simply because I know that I work best at night). But during the day, there are plenty of places to do homework and studying. The library usually closes at 2am and is open 24 hours during finals week. The party scene usually consists of a moderate Thursday night, and then a busy Friday and Saturday night. Some people go out all three, some two, one, or not at all. If partying isn't your scene, you will definitely find other friends that feel the same way. Your weekend can be spent having a pizza and a movie night as most pizza places are open until 2am, or you can explore museums in Pittsburgh (get in free with your ID!), or check out the Pittsburgh Orchestra or Ballet. If you aren't a big partier it doesn't mean you'll be spending your weekend alone watching tv. There are plenty of people that choose to do other things with their weekends.

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I started at Pitt as a junior because I transferred form Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). In one of my classes I met one of my good friends named Dave. We had Human Resource Management (HRM) together. We became friends at first by studying for exams together, and then we started partying together all over campus. The parties here kick ass by the way. There is literally a party every night of the week so whatever your schedule may be you can fit it in. Anyways, I needed to find a place to live because my plans fell through and I needed something fast. I saw on facebook that my friend Dave was looking for roommates, for a 6 bedroom house in North Oakland. I jumped on the opportunity knowing that Dave was a responsible kid who liked to get down and party whenever he had time. The rest is history; we live with four other students who are all cool people. I really enjoy the diversity of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh, and my house. Also the nightlife for someone over 21 is amazing. There is the Southside (so many bars), Station Square (sick clubs), North Shore (Clubs and Bars), Squirrel Hill (some bars), Shadyside (get dressed up and bring some dough), and so much more (it's crazy). You can go to the opera if you don’t like to party (Civic Light Opera at the Benedum is beautiful), 5 museums, and of course Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates games. I could go on all day, but you just need to know that there is something to do for everyone even if you don’t like to party as hard as me.

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Popular organizations: The Oakland Zoo (cheering section for the basketball team) is popular, but tickets are not that easy to come by. Football games are great fun, but are a 10-minute bus ride (at Heinz Field) away. I've said this several times before; but really, if you enjoy a hobby, you'll find like-minded individuals here at Pitt. Check out Pitt's "student organization resource center" (Google it) for some types of groups. Party scene: Good heavens, there is a party scene. Most of it occurs in South Oakland, several blocks from campus. Yeah, the neighborhoods look shady; but go with friends, and you'll be fine. Most people party only on Friday and Saturday, some also on Thursday. There are some who drink every night, but they'll drop out. Don't be them. "Excess in moderation." Don't drink two beers every night; wait until Friday, and drink all the beers. If you don't drink, don't come here. I'm kidding, don't worry. If you don't drink, and want to have fun, catch a (free for Pitt students) bus to SouthSide Works or Shadyside. I took my girlfriend to a jazz club, then an indie-friendly movie theater; there's always something to do. Frat life: Near non-existent. Something like 8% of students are in a frat/sorority. I was in one for 36 hours, then walked out of my first meeting. I'm not a fan of paying $400 a semester to make friends, so that's that. However, within the sororities, they all seem to form very "sisterly" relationships with each other.

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Pitt's football team and men's basketball team are by far the most popular sports to follow. Both of these teams' games are very popular to go to, and I've even been on ESPN before at a football game! A lot of popular speakers and figures come to Pitt - from President Obama (who came downtown when he was campaigning) to Michelle Obama (who came to our campus), to Joe Biden (who came to our campus just a few weeks ago well into his term as vice-president), to famous actors (that one guy from Inception who is not Leonardo DiCaprio), to Ke$ha who performed here last spring. If you want to do something on a weekend that doesn't involve drinking, a Pitt organization has Friday night tea houses, with music, conversation, and games, and there are always random campus events going on. There is also a large art and theatre scene downtown, and through the university's organization called PittArts, it's really easy to get cheap tickets to broadway shows that come here, plays, or philharmonic performances. If you want to do something on a weekend that does involve drinking, you will likely just be able to roam the off-campus student residential areas and find a house party. There are also well-known fraternity houses and at least five popular bars within a five or ten minute's walk from main campus. If you're roaming the streets at 10pm or later you can tell that at least half the people walking around are drunk.

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As a student, I was a member of the Pitt Outdoors Club, which is how I met most of my closest friends. Student organizations were very popular. I think because of that, Greek life is not as important at Pitt as it is at some other schools. The frats and sororities are definitely there, and they throw a lot of parties, but the majority of students are not a part of that scene. Pitt has a pretty strong athletics program. Our football team doesn't have the same support it used to. The stadium is sort of a pain to get to. The university does provide shuttles, but not all that many students go. Although tailgating for the games is pretty popular. The field is great since it's where the Steelers play. Season football tickets are only about $25 for students. Pitt basketball has a huge following. The school has a pretty big party scene. During the first few weeks of school, you can wander down into South Oakland and find house parties all over the place. The bars in Oakland are pretty tight about checking ID's so most of the partying for younger students happens at houses and apartments. Since the school is in the city, you have access to all sorts of things. There is decent shopping and several movie theaters nearby.

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The largest group on campus is, to my knowledge, the Pitt Pathfinders. Their responsibility is to introduce newcomers and prospective students to the campus and provide insight into what life at PItt is like. As far as greek life is concerned, it really isn't a big part of Pitt's social scene. I think only 10% of the student body is enrolled in either a frat or a sorority. If a prominent greek life experience is what you are looking for, Pitt may not be the place for you. People party every weekend, and if you really want to find one, you will. Like any large campus, the dating scene is plentiful and there are lots of options. On the whole, i think the females at Pitt are definitely more attractive. If drinking and dating aren't your scenes, then have no fear! One of the perks of living in the city is that there is always something to do or see. If you want to go to the movies, no problem. Just wanna grab a late night snack? You can find that right down the street at half off. The Carnegie Science Center plays laser light shows that are pretty awesome.

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There are lots of popular groups on campus. Some of the most popular are Greek Life and the activities committees. I'm involved with WPTS which is Pitt's radio station. It is a small group, but everyone gets along really well. Joining the radio station was a great way for me to meet people when I started at Pitt. Some of the most popular events at Pitt are of course the sporting events, concerts, and the spring and fall fests. Guest speakers also get alot of student attention, especially political figures. Homecoming is always a blast too. There are a lot of parties at Pitt. On any given day there are tons of parties going on. All you have to do is walk through Oakland and look at which apartments have kids hanging around, and you can find yourself a great house party. I'm not big on hard-core partying, but I still have fun on the weekends. There are concerts and plays to see, shopping, museums, etc. And it is still fun to go to parties and not get trashed. There's something for everyone to enjoy as far as social life goes.

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South and North Oakland is the part of Pittsburgh where the vast majority of off campus students live (The U of Pitt is in between S & N Oakland). North Oakland is home to many frat houses and south oakland is mostly houses/apartments. It is approximately a 5-10 minute walk from the majority of apartments to campus. Freshman and Sophomore year most students venture out to Frat and House parties. Junior year is when most students move off campus and start throwing parties and Senior year everyone is 21 and goes to bars. Bars: Oakland is home to around 10 bars some of which are more popular than others. The South Side, Shadyside, and Station Square are the other areas Pitt students frequent and they are all within 4-5 miles of Oakland ($10 cab ride). Those areas have more older post-college professionals while Oakland is almost exclusively college students.

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The student life at Pitt is pretty cool. Greek life is pretty big and everyone can rush. There's an organization for anyone (if you don't find what you like, it's fairly easy to start one). Museums, libraries, theatres, cinema, discount venue tickets and weekend trip tickets are all either free or at a severly discounted rate (the difference picked up by the school). The Study abroad, Semester at Sea and alternative spring break programs are amazing! Freshman are required to live in dorms...which helps to meet people and most of them are pretty nice. They just built three new mid-rise buildings. There's always a party somewhere...just need to meet the right people. There's a nightlife on the South Side, which is an area just across the river filled with everything anyone can think of. For non-drinkers, there's a lot to do as well.

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