University of Wisconsin-Madison Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Jake

You have an entire city at your disposal. The city is campus and it's amazing how integrated they are. You can do anything, and most of it is free.

Kaitlyn

There are countless organizations on campus. You can join anything from the equestrian team to dance to book clubs. I am a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. We do a lot of local volunteering and fundraising for events. Athletic events are very popular on campus. On the day of a sporting event, people are walking around everywhere in their Badger gear. Dorms are great for socializing during your first year. Students usually keep their doors open and the house fellows organize events for each floor, so it is easy to meet other students.

Gabriel

Sports are very big but also there is a student organization for just about any and everything.

Emily

I honestly can't even decide which student organizations and groups are most popular because there are so many different ones available, and so many different types of students that each one is important to many people. With this said, there are a few well- known organizations, but everything is truly interest oriented, and there is something for everyone. A prevalent organization on campus is called Hoofers, which is and outdoor oriented group that takes trips or outings that are focused on outdoor activities. Different branches of this group include the outing club, skiing and snowboarding club, equestrian club, scubadiving club and so on. This is just one example of the way that students organize groups based on interests, and how it can spread to so many different people. Also, even though it is not a group or anything, football games generate a lot of school pride and festivity that many students take part in to support the school and friends. I am a season ticket holder for football, and I wouldn't think of missing such a fun, exciting game during the season. Games generate so much school spirit and a sort of unique feeling that unifies the students in supporting the university. UW Madison is notoriously known for being somewhat of a party school as well, and while it can be very fun, not everyone does it, and there really are so many things to do that you don't always need to feel pressured to go out to a party. In fact, since so many students are so studious, it is understood when school comes first and you can't go out with friends. Otherwise, it really comes down to who you surround yourself with, and you can easily be accepted for doing whatever you like on the weekends because there are so many possibilities and so many different people to share them with. There is also frequent movies playing at the school unions, and a bunch of concerts on campus, so you can easily find something to keep you busy when you're not studying. Also the city around campus holds even more opportunities, and every student gets a free bus pass so it is easy to travel out to a mall or surrounding areas if you look at the bus schedule.

Kelly

The most popular groups on campus are the political groups- College Democrats and College Republicans, but outdoor groups such as Hoofers also have pretty big membership. Football is the major sport here, and student season tickets sell out in minutes. Basketball and hockey are very popular too, but if a student is going to get season tickets for only one sport, they're going to get it for football. Game days are when the campus really comes alive- there's parties everywhere, lots of music, tailgating, etc. On the academic side, the Distinguished Lecture Series is really popular, and those events often sell out as well. On the weekends, I would say about 75% of the campus goes out an parties, but most don't do it every weekend, and it's not always a wild event. If you don't want to drink, the university always has a lot of events going on, there's movies playing the in the unions, bowling, pool, and dorm events and outings.

Julia

Due to UW-Madison's size, students can find virtually any activity or group. Groups range from fantasy sports leagues to music groups to community service teams. Sports teams, clubs, and intramural leagues are also very popular. I myself am involved in both intramural volleyball and soccer, as well as music and church service groups. Because of all these options, it is easy to find things to do on weekends instead of just partying. Places such as the Orpheum Theatre and the Overture Center offer shows and concerts, ranging from local music groups to famous bands. If the weather is nice, the Memorial Union Terrace is also a great option for fun, friends, and music. Weekends in the fall will likely be a little more wild than normal, due to football games. I met most of my friends in the dorms my freshmen and sophomore years. I also met friends in classes and through St. Paul's Church. I considered joining a sorority, but opted not to. There are many options for frats and sororities, but the whole scene is not outlandish. There isn't a typical "frat row" that you see at many other colleges, but rather the frats are more interspersed and on the whole very welcoming to students outside the frat. If you get tired of campus life, there are also options off campus. Busses can take you the West Town or East Town malls, Target, nightclubs, and music bars.

Jared

Wisconsin, I feel, really spoils us as a student body when it comes to activity outside of study. There's just SO much to do. Sporting events, for me, are number one. The badgers are pretty much good at every sport. That makes going to games fun and exciting. The girls at UW are GORGEOUS. It's almost unfair. There is a strong dating scene here. Even Freshmen who get paired up early are happy about it because Madison is a dating-friendly city. Greek life is NOT that important, but it's something that I enjoy. Give it a shot if you want, and if you don't, you'll probably have a friend who will. Once they're in, you can go to their parties. This IS, as much as I hate to say it, a party school. People party. A lot. In the beginning it was almost disturbing. Welcome Week is the week after move in and before classes formally begin. Needless to say this week is the birthplace and manifestation of regretful decision-making, but it also was a lot of fun. There are things to do that don't involve drinking. I don't know how popular they are because of my living situation. On that note, and in ALL caps: IF YOU DON'T LIKE TO PARTY, PLEASE DO NOT LIVE IN THE SOUTHEAST NEIGHBORHOOD. I cannot stress that enough. Lakeshore and southeast are your living options for public dorms. Lakeshore is quieter and tends to be more academic whereas southeast is overbearingly social at times.

Samuel

Student government is big at UW-Madison, as well as public interest group WISPIRG. These groups also encourage volunteer work through themselves as well as other, smaller groups. For any professional career, there are a handful of student organizations dedicated to educating you and connecting you to adults in those fields. I was able to find a small pre-law group called the Legal Studies Association and really make it my own, becoming the organization's President my Junior year. This has cemented my interest in the law, and I think that without having sifted through the wealth of student organizations on campus I would still be pondering what I wanted to do with my life. You can party as much or little as you would like to after your freshman year. The first year, however, is filled with energy as students look to make a new circle of friends, and often this is accompanied by going out to parties in large groups. Friday and Saturday night the dorms will be alive until 2-3 AM, so if this is not your scene I would recommend you look into some of the alternative dorms on campus (Chadbourne, Barnard, etc.).

Heba

At my school, there are hundreds of active student organizations and an even larger amount of student interests that circle around campus. That being said, two of the largest organizations around UW-Madison are Wisconsin Union Directorate Committees and our large greek system. The Wisconsin Union Directorate is composed of committees such as Art, Music, Film, Society and Politics, Global Connections, Alternative Breaks, and Publications. Through these committees, students can explore these fields and help set up events at our unions for the student body to enjoy. Our greek system is also very big at campus. Rushing for a sorority or fraternity at the beginning of your semester at UW-Madison could be a very reward experience for you if you are interested in such a thing. UW-Madison is known for being a party school, but during the week, students work hard to get good grades and excel. If you ask any one at our school, they know that we work hard and party hard. However, if that is not something that you are interested in, do not worry. There is something for everyone on our campus. It's hard to find a moment of boring, free time at this campus.

Matthew

I think oftentimes incoming students look to a school's Greek system to gauge what the social scene is generally like. At the University of Wisconsin, the Greek system exists but does not dominate the social scene. I was part of a fraternity, and while I appreciate the social, academic, and philanthropic avenues which my fraternity provided me, I also realize that there is a large social life in Madison outside of the Greek world. Many of the advantages of Greek involvement can be found in non-Greek contexts. For instance, students can take part in social and community activism through the Associated Students of Madison (a body of student government) or one of the two major student newspapers. Because the university is so large, students are intent on finding smaller communities in which to immerse themselves. While attending the university is enough to solidify one's identity as a Badger, extracurricular involvement is important in finding a more intimate, meaningful context. In other words, students find their way into the university through extracurricular activities which fit their interests and personalities. At the same time, these extracurricular activities allow them to expand their horizons and take on risks that are educational. Students find employment in the unions, the school cafeterias,the University of Wisconsin Foundation, and the libraries, which allows them to financially support themselves while providing fundamental services for their peers. Other students join business organizations to form networks and find like-minded peers. Students who excel in a certain language or who simply wish to experience a totally new culture study abroad.. I went to London during my Junior year, which was definitely one of my most rewarding, valuable college experiences. These activities are all lively, enriching ways for students to develop and grow.

Lauren

Being in the Big Ten Conference, athletic events are extremely important to students at UW, especially Badger Football Games at Camp Randall, our stadium. Home games are usually packed and extremely energetic. Students are very involved in traditional cheers and songs while in the stands, and there is even a day at the beginning of the school year for all Freshmen and new students to head to Camp Randall to learn these songs and the possible hand motions that go with them. UW students, drunk and sober alike, completely animate when the band plays these songs. The amount of school spirit here is extremely refreshing. Every year, there are two major drinking holidays: Halloween and Mifflin. Halloween attracts thousands of people from other campuses for its infamous reputation and its street music festival, Freakfest, which takes place on State Street, a pedestrian-friendly commerical mall. Mifflin, or "Mifflin Street Days", is a weekend-long party that takes place in almost every house on Mifflin Street. It originated in the 70's as a protest to the war in Vietnam and has evolved into one of the sloppiest and craziest weekends on any college campus. The police try to get involved as much as possible each year, to little avail. It lasts from early morning until...well, early morning again. There are few hours that people are NOT partying this weekend. It's the last weekend that people are in Madison before finals in the Spring, so people see it as their last chance to really party before going home for the summer. The most popular organizations would have to be our ballroom dance club or PubCom, the Publications Committee. PubCom has several branches to it, two of which I belong to myself. I'm part of Working Title, our creative writing club, and Souvenirs, one of our several student-run magazines that we produce annually. PubCom is generally more for those interested in a literary field, but it also includes branches like theatre, which is responsible for putting together and hosting free screenings of movies in one of our two unions a few times a month. Yup, that's right, we have TWO unions! Union South was just rebuilt and finished this past spring, and is incredible, to say the least. There is a rockwall, a bowling alley, movie theater, concert hall, bar, restaurants, cafes, and several study areas and meeting spaces inside. Our other union, Memorial Union, is on the other side of campus, right on Lake Mendota with it's own Terrace and swimming dock in the summer. There is tons of windsurfing, sailing, and boating in in the summer and spring months, and, when the weather is nice, the Terrace is filled with people of all ages, sharing pitchers of beer. Although there are many activites for drinkers, there are also lots of things available for underagers or non-drinkers. Aside from the numerous activites in Union South, there are many free events like ballroom dancing lessons or various workshops that take place weekly. We have an amazing acapella group, The Madhatters, that have performances throughout the year. This group actually just performed at the White House recently! You can also get tickets as cheap as $10 for the Madison Symphony Orchestra with your student ID. My favorite event would have to be the annual Yule Ball that PubCom hosts in December (which they just started in 2010). As a Harry Potter lover, it was amazing.

Brock

I don't see how this is a relevant question.

Katie

Greek life is pretty big at Madison, but because of the sheer size of the student body, it does not play nearly as large of a role on campus as it does in other schools. Due to the school's D1 status, becoming a Badger athlete is usually difficult if you haven't been recruited and is very time-consuming if you are in a sport. If you still want to be an athlete, though, don't worry- there are endless intramurals going on throughout the year and multiple club teams that you can try out for. Football games are huge social events, as well as (to a lesser extent) men's basketball and hockey games. Madison has earned its status as a party school, and Fridays and Saturdays are generally filled with social activities that may or may not include booze (some students like to include Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in their weekends too...). Opportunities for free activities are everywhere, so if there's something you're even remotely interested in there's probably a way you can learn it. I've learned how to ballroom dance, make perfect mac and cheese in Cheese Club, break dance, become a certified phlebotomist (blood-drawer), do yoga, and a whole lot more...and that's just outside of my pre-professional and school-related activities.

Katie

This semester at UW Madison there are 763 different student organizations, covering a wide variety of interests. I would say that the most popular organizations are those that are the interest groups that are particular to your major and long-term academic goals (ex. Kinesiology Club, Pre-Veterinary Club) because joining clubs like these is a really good way to meet people that are probably going to be in the same classes as you or will have already taken those classes and can give you some pointers. Also very popular is the Greek scene. We have a ton of really great club sports here as well as intramural sports that are less competitive. There are many different groups for international, minority, and LGBT students as well. At the beginning of each semester we have a Student Org Fair, with each club setting up a booth and handing out a little bit of information about what they do so look out for that and shop around for whatever interests you. You are not necessarily committed to anything because you pick up a pamphlet or put your name on an e-mail list!

Meredith

Of course, football and basketball games are a pretty common/necessary to attend. On game day, the whole city of Madison is either at the game or watching it in a bar. Game days in Madison are so much fun and totally worth your Saturday. I lived in the Lakeshore dorms, which are situated by a Lake Monona. It was such a great experience and I recommend the dorms to all incoming freshmen. I live with my dorm mates now, as a Sophomore, and have made life long friends. We go out most weekends but, with so much going on in Madison, students do not need to drink to have fun. There are always movies and live entertainment at the Unions and many more alcohol-free activities. I am involved at a student run newspaper on campus and really enjoy it. Off campus, I work as an intern at the Capitol.

Lydia

One of the most popular student activities is cheering on the sports teams. UW Madison is known for its BIG TEN basketball and exceptional football teams. The road next to Camp Randall, Breeze Terrace is always buzzing on a game day. That being said, while the sports teams are often of interest to students here, there are so many other organizations to get involved in, you will find it hard to pick just one! Balancing these extra activities with schoolwork is perhaps the most challenging part of the whole situation as finding something you will enjoy being a part of is simply that easy.

Rayna

Student orgs is where I met most of my friends. The Wisconsin Union Directorate is a great start. There are nine committees within WUD including Film, Music, Art, Society and Politics, Hoofers (horseriding, mountaineering, SCUBA, etc). I'm on WUD Film and we program free movies on campus 6 days a week ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to experimental avant-garde shorts. I'm on a long-form improv team called The Titanic Players that I auditioned for freshman year. I now live with 5 of my teammates and they're the best friends I could ever imagine. There's a big Greek life on campus, but I've avoided it completely. Madison is in Wisconsin, so of course that's a huge bar scene. There are dozens of cool pubs and bars of all types of styles, classy, typical college bar, gay bar, everything. Some even have 18+ dance nights if you're not of age. State Street is the main shopping and club street and it's got many restaurants open until 4 am, so even if you're out late there's something to do. The Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Chazen Museum of Art, and Veterans Museum are all located on or near campus. There are many traditions in Madison including Mifflin Street Block Party every April where one can drink outside, Freakfest every Halloween (bands have included OK Go, Third Eye Blind, and Neon Indian), Badger football games, and the weekly Farmer's Market around the capitol every Saturday morning.

Laura

Student Orgs are very open to everyone, including freshmen. Before I even located the Student Union on campus I trained at WSUM, Student radio. I was one of the only freshmen in the first group of trainees, but still managed to become an integral member of the station. I now have my own show that I produce every week. It is a fun hands-on activity that is what you make it, much like this university. By my second year being a DJ, I was training a new batch of future WSUM members. My proudest moment arrived when this young man, who was adamant about not talking on air, introduced a song with confidence. WSUM helped me to become involved and meet friends outside the dorms.

Brinae

There are all kinds of things to get involved with on campus, and not one group is obviously most popular. Sports are a big deal, and everyone has pride in our excellent teams, even if not an athlete. Football especially is a big deal, and going to games is an important part of the fall semester for many students. Student organizations cover a wide variety of interests, from Model United Nations, to Sci-Fi club, to Cheese Club, to Classics Society. I personally am the secretary for the Ten Percent Society, a social group for queer and allied students on campus that has weekly meetings involving lots of board game playing, as well as trips for things such as apple picking and laser tagging. I also am involved with UW's Hillel, the Jewish student center. I attend Friday night services weekly, and eat dinner and socialize with other Jewish students afterward. There is a pretty active Greek Life on campus if that's what you're interested in getting into. It's also pretty easy to avoid Greek Life on campus if that's what you're into. UW is constantly bringing in speakers or holding special discussions or lectures. Last year we even had Barak Obama come to speak. These are great opportunities to learn about things that don't necessarily have anything to do with your major. Madison itself has lots to offer students. There's the (in?)famous FreakFest and other Halloween celebrations, which I love, since Halloween is my favorite holiday. Also popular is the Farmer's Market, which is the largest in the area and is great for people looking for fresh, local food on a budget.

Brinae

There are all kinds of things to get involved with on campus, and not one group is obviously most popular. Sports are a big deal, and everyone has pride in our excellent teams, even if not an athlete. Football especially is a big deal, and going to games is an important part of the fall semester for many students. Student organizations cover a wide variety of interests, from Model United Nations, to Sci-Fi club, to Cheese Club, to Classics Society. I personally am the secretary for the Ten Percent Society, a social group for queer and allied students on campus that has weekly meetings involving lots of board game playing, as well as trips for things such as apple picking and laser tagging. I also am involved with UW's Hillel, the Jewish student center. I attend Friday night services weekly, and eat dinner and socialize with other Jewish students afterward. There is a pretty active Greek Life on campus if that's what you're interested in getting into. It's also pretty easy to avoid Greek Life on campus if that's what you're into.

Julia

Since there are so many diverse students on campus, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what a "typical" student" is like. There are some commonalities though. Many students are involved in some organizations. One of the most popular is the Hoofers, which invites students interested in all sorts of outdoor activities to get together. They scuba dive, sail, ski, snowboard, horseback ride, hike, kayak... basically any activity outdoors, you name it, they do it! Another uniting aspect of UW-Madison is the sports and leisure activities. The culture surrounding football in particular it is as much a part of the football season as the games themselves. When basketball season rolls around people go nuts and host parties around the games (they provide a great respite from studying too!). Union South has a great, contemporary theater that screens current movies every weekend--for free! There are many options such as the theater if you're not into drinking, as many clubs host activities during the weekend that don't involve alcohol consumption. If, however, you are fine with drinking, you'll find no shortage of ways to have fun doing so. Seeing as Wisconsin and beer go hand in hand, students here enjoy having a few brews while hanging out with friends and partying. Though sometimes it becomes excessive--think the Mifflin Street Block Party--people usually have a good handle on their drinking and don't act stupidly. Other traditions like Mifflin include the All Campus Party (which doesn't involve alcohol) and Go Big Read, which is a school-sponsored event where a renowned author comes and speaks.

Alissa

Sports are very popular here but there are many other activities to participate in. There are plenty of political groups, religious groups, human rights clubs, and hobby meetings. Also, sororities and fraternities are popular. Nearly every weekend there seems to be a party, even some that do not include drinking. Dancing lessons (example: Salsa) are available and popular for a fun activity. Many residence halls hold gaming nights, either for video games or board games. There are plenty of options for everyone.

Danielle

Partying is definitely a large part of the social scene on campus. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is not the only scene. There are many opportunities for students to get involved with other students and the community. The Associated Students of Madison is the popular student government group, committed to getting the student voices heard on campus. Another popular student group is the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board, run by the Alumni Association. WASB sponsors many of the larger campus activities and events, such as Homecoming week, welcome week activities, and the All-Campus party. During finals week, sometimes they even hand out breakfast on Bascom Hill! There are also many restaurants and theaters around town designed for every college student's budget. Theaters include the Orpheum and the Majestic, which house concerts and often movie screening parties. In a different cultural aspect, The Overture Center for the Arts on State Street is the main place to see musicals, some of the campus singing groups and orchestras, plays, and ballets. No matter your interests, there is something for everyone in the city and on campus, and you'll never be bored if you don't want to be.

Michael

Since the University is so big, there are a ton of groups to get involved with. I'm on the UW Cycling Team, which is the biggest club sport on campus. It's a very well organized and supportive club, and from what I've seen of other clubs, they seem to be the same way. Lots of emails get sent out from different clubs, and chances are you'll have an interest in one of them. Athletic events are very, very popular. Game days during the football season are a sight to behold, with the streets flood with red and white. Camp Randall has an incredible atmosphere, and the legendary student section always makes sure that they remain legendary by taking part in the strong traditions of the section. There are of course the two biggest party nights of the academic year, which are Halloween and Mifflin. Halloween/Freakfest isn't quite what it used to be in terms of intensity, but it has gotten much safer and calm over the past few years. The Mifflin Street Block Party is the big finals week kick off, and students are generally uncompromising with its taking place. Partying is a pretty big deal at UW but it isn't absolutely necessary. The bar scene is awesome though, and there are a ton of places to choose from.

Ryan

Your social life will be great if you like drinking a lot. If you are very academic or otherwise not "normal" or "cool" you will likely have a hard time unless you can seek out people you can relate to. There is almost nothing to do on weekend nights but drinking in dive bars - there are a few more options on weeknights for alternative entertainment.

Phoebe

There are two locations for dorms, southeast and lakeshore. Southeast is stereotyped as the party dorms and located closer to State Street whereas lakeshore is the quieter location right off of Lake Mendota. I think you can find people who party and who are quieter in both locations, but the southeast dorms are definitely louder due to them being closer to downtown Madison. It's nice to come back to the lakeshore dorms and be able to sleep in the nice peace and quiet. Most of the partying is on Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights, but you can find someone to go out with you on any night of the week and there won't be that much judgement, lol. There is always something to do on campus, but mostly I enjoy just hanging out with my friends. One thing that UW doesn't have is a movie theater, so you have to go off campus, but every student gets a city bus pass for free. However, it's hard to work out the timing and a bus ride is usually 45 minutes.

Allison

I wouldn't know.

Joe

The social life is great. We have a pretty decent sized fraternity and sorority scene but if that isn't your thing then there are so many other places to party and go out. The bar scene is also amazing and State Street comes alive at night and on the weekends. Also, football game tailgates can get pretty crazy.

Bree

Some of the most popular groups include Greek Life, Sports, and WASB. Im on the UW water Polo team and I've established many friends through there. I am also involved in a sorority where I have met all my best friends and spend most of my time with them on the weekends. I lived in Southeast Dorms, Witte and absolutely loved it (minus the fire alarms) Most people kept their rooms open and our floor was really close. Athletic events are everything here! I haven't attended many guest speaker events or theater. The dating scene, at least for freshman year is about 25% 75%...25% go into long term relationships while most hook up. I met my closest friends in the dorm and through my sorority. If im awake on tuesday at 2am, I am either studying or procrastinating because Im with friends on the floor talking. Traditions includee Halloween on State street and Mifflin (the last weekend to party in spring). People party Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I usually pick one or two nights to drink so i'm not completely exhausted to study and catch up on homework for the week. Greek life is about 10%, if your in them many of your connections and associations and parties are within that community, but you can easily be in other communities such as sports or dorm friends. You can have an awesome social life without being involved, and if you are involved its your choice on how involved you want to be. Typical weekends we go out to fraternity parties or house parties with friends, then end the night with Ians pizza. Saturday nights without alcohol you can go on state street to dinner and a concert. I didnt really do much off campus, but you can take the bus to malls or downtowns.

Andy

There is always something going on on campus. Free concerts, sporting events, movies playing at the Union, political debates, charity events, and many more. And almost everything is contained on campus. Within a 20 minute walk, you can go to an art museum, attend a rock concert, find a house party, run a charity 5k, see a hockey game, and sail on Lake Mendota. A person with any hobbies or interests can find something they enjoy, and other people to enjoy it with.

Gretchen

My biggest advice for meeting people on campus is to live in the residence halls your freshman year, and make a point to introduce yourself to people and leave your dorm room door open when you're home. During the first week of school students love to pop into each other's rooms to say hi and get groups together to eat dinner or go to a Wisconsin Welcome Week event. This is the easiest time to meet people and make friends, and if you keep to yourself too much at the beginning of the year it can be harder to make friends later on. There are over 700 student organizations on campus, and it only takes 3 interested people to start a new one, so feel free to get as involved as you want to!

Nico

greek life is SO overated! (in the school, i mean for real.) Students in dorms do leave their door open. the footaball games are such a big deal in the school. If i were awake at 2 am, i would prob. be watching something on tv and eating pizza. kids party every night here. you CANNOT do anything on saturday night that does not involve drinking. PERIOD. this is a drinking school. forget about it.

Brianna

There are so many people and a million different student organizations there's no reason you should ever feel alone or left out at a school like Wisco. Even better- if there isn't a student org for your interest you can easily start one! Different dorms have different reputations as far as sociability is concerned. Generally Southeast dorms are known to be the more social dorms whereas Lakeshore is more quiet and studious. Madison is famous for its annual Halloween party but my favorite tradition is the Mifflin Street Block Party that is held the weekend before finals begin every year. Its basically half of the student body having a great time and enjoying the last days of spring (and sanity) before finals begin. There are plenty of things going on around campus on a Saturday night that you can go to if you aren't drinking. The Union almost always has some sort of show going on and there are lots of art performances going on year round. Plus there's tons of great restaurants on State Street.

Dale

There's a million events every day, seriously. There's posters up everywhere - if you want to go to a play or an ethnic concert or make crafts on a Saturday night, you'll find something on campus. I met my closest friends by living in the dorms and being in a super small major. I really recommend living in the dorms at least for your first year - it's hard to make friends with people you don't live near. Also, beware that the city of Madison starts renting apartments super early - like, in November for the next school year. So, if you're planning on signing a lease, be sure that you know the people you'll be living with. They could turn out to be psychos and then you'll be screwed. =) One other thing: if you plan on coming to Madison with all your BFFs from High School and living with them, don't plan on making a lot of new friends. If you don't want to branch out, you probably shouldn't even go to college.

Karl

The weekends of the fall semester are completely centered around football season. The games are awesome and the tailgating before hand come in a close second in terms entertainment. For student involvement the outdoors clubs (Hoofers) are very popular and many students are active in one of the groups within this club. The winter gets a little tougher because the snow and the cold does keep people inside more but it just makes for more opportunities to meet people in the dorms and apartments.

Torry

there are like 700 student orgs. you're dumb if you can't find one you like... or 6 you like for that matter. yes.. students leave their dorm doors open for the first half of the year. after that everyone knows each other pretty well and doesn't feel insecure about knocking to come in. i found that the second part of the year i wanted a little more quiet time being i had already met a lot of people and had a pretty good idea of who i wanted to spend time with. so yes.. open doors are prevelent... i personally had mine open when i felt like it and closed when i napped. athletic events- deservingly popular. football games are unbelievable. guest speakers are really popular too.. but they happen more frequently so there's not as "dense" of a crowd. theater is popular too. probably similar to guest speakers. the union has a lot of free movies offered... like superbad and that recent one w/johnny depp. can't remember it's name. the dating scene. well... there are a lot of cuties on campus. the girls seem to be more concerned with dating than the boys... who tend to have the "college mindset" of only living once. they get more mature though eventually.. i met my closest friends the first year in the dorms (SELLERY ROCKS!!! SOUTHEAST DORMS ALL THE WAY!) and then also through my sorority! i didn't know a single person at WI when i came.. and now have over 500 wisconsin friends on facebook :) it really becomes a small place.. and you meet SOOOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE. if you're awake at 2 am on a tuesday.. you're most likely studying. however.. you might be watching a movie w/friends/boyfriend/girlfriend or stumbling back from the bar. it all depends what your preference is. frats and sororities are as important as you want them to be! i'm in delta gamma and love it ..even though i'd never thought of myself as a sorority girl to begin with. it basically quadruples your network of friends.. how often to people party? thursday, fri, sat are a given... sometime wed... or sometimes just once a week. for the most part you usually are so burned out from using your brain all week that thursday is perfect timing for a little breath of fresh air. there's a lot of stuff you can do besides drinking. like i said.. the union has free movies. the union south has bowling. someone's always in their room playing video games. shopping... ians pizza..

Dustin

This school has everything that you could ever want. If you want to go out one night and get trashed there are probably 4 or 5 keggers on every street not to mention the rampant bar scene. If you want to stay in there are several libraries open 24/7 and always movies or other activities going on all around campus.

Julia

Living the dorms was so much fun. I met tons of people, many that I'll remain friends with forever. It's just a great experience.

Jon

One of the great things about the university of wisconsin madison is that there is so much to do any given evening. As i tell prospective students on my campus tours, if you are bored on a friday night, you're not looking hard enough. Our student union offers a plethora of activites. From nightly concerts at the rathskeller and on the terrace to movies shown throughout the week, there is always something to do. one of the best things about our student union as well, is that beer is sold to students of age. While very strict in enforcing the 21 and over rule, it is none the less something very fun to do with friends on a lazy saturday afternoon on the terrace, over looking lake mendota. Elsewhere, you will find year round badger sporting events to attend. Whether football in the fall or hockey and basketball in the spring, there is always some even to go and cheer on the badgers. The Kohl center is another endless source of entertainment, hosting regular concerts and speakers. Recent events include the blue man group, Barak Obama, billy joel, bon jovi, and, i am ashamed to admit, brittney spears. Off campus, the university offers two malls, one on either side of campus. Both are readily accessible to students through our free bus passes, and perfect places for girlfriends to drag their significant others for a torturous night of shopping. It would also be heinous if i did not mention state street. Running six blocks, from campus to the capital, state street is my favorite place in madison. It has sources of entertainment, from bars with local and semi local bands such as Youngblood Brass band and Zox, and our famous overture center, which plays host to traveling broadway musicals such as Spamalot and The Phantom of the Opera. All this aside, my favorite thing about state street is the endless supply of food it offers students to sample. with over sixty different resturaunts, you can get calzones the size of your head, or pizza topped with hamburger and french fries! who can say no to that? A friend and myself have made it a goal to eat at every resturaunt on state street by the time we graduate. In this past year, we've made it about 2 and a half of the 6 blocks, which shows you how much more we have to go!

Ashley

Frats and sororities can be popular with certain groups of people. Sports are always really popular too. I'm in band and an honor society, I really enjoy both and I've met some great people. Two big tradtions are the annual Halloween party and the annual Mifflin Street Block Party, both are pretty well known (ask Wikipedia haha). Generally a lot of drinking occurs at those events, but people can have a good time without drinking too. The Terrace behind the Union is a popular place for live music. State street shopping and restaurants are amazing too!

Lauren

If you're awake at 2am on a Tuesday, it's a 50/50 split as to whether you're studying like mad for an 8am midterm or getting wasted. We work hard and party hard. But, if it's a Saturday night and you don't want to drink, there is plenty to do - concerts, free movies, bowling - people even study on weekend nights.

Patrick

Covered in most of my other comments, but social life is very vibrant on campus. Weekends represent the break from grueling work, so students take them very seriously. Most people's weekend plans (including Thirsty Thursday mind you) involve pre-gaming in their residence, then going to meet a friend either at a house party or at a bar (depending on if they are of legal drinking age, or have a fake id good enough to get them into the bars) and then capping the night off at one of several drunk-food outposts (T-Bell and Ian's Pizza are the favorites)

Liz

A typical Wisco organization is one that gets their shit done and parties regularly. I am in a sorority. Greek life isn't huge (about 8% of student pop.), but it is definitely a presence. There are a lot of events in Greek Life and there are a lot of opportunities to meet new people that I feel like people outside of Greek Life just don't have. There are also philanthropic opportunities and leadership opportunities. You can go to the bars any night of the week and find a strong showing of people out. The dating scene is not so hot. I know of a lot of people who have long distance relationships because there are not many datable guys here. Not many people venture off campus, cars aren't very common here. People party often.

Toby

The weekends start on Thursday, no, Wednesday in Wisconsin. My closest friends I met through my sorority, and from the dorms freshmen year. Although, now that I have a set major, I'm making new friends through my classes. Greek life only makes up about 11% of our campus. If you want to notice it, you will. But if you don't want to, you won't. Athletic events are HUGE here.. for some people it really is about the game, but for others it's the best reason to pregame on Saturday's at 11am.

Ron

Sooo many orgs and teams. Student body loves sporting events. Most people leave doors open, especially in my hallway where everyone is close with each other. Dating scene is possible but there are lots of random drunken hookups (not a bad thing). People study Sunday-Wednesday and get smashed on Thurs, Fri, Sat. There is a lot of schoolwork from classes and people can't afford to drink or party on days on than THurs, Fri Sat. Frats and sororities are important if you want them to be. Otherwise, not at all influencial. I;ve been to a frat twice. If you are in one or friends with people in one, it is a much bigger deal. generally greeks are rich kids from new york or california. Saturday night without drinking is an oxymoron. But there are options, Union activities, sporting event. or just hanging out. Off campus is where all the parties are, so students are frequently off campus, even if it is just at State Street.

Carolyn

I am in Alpha Phi sorority and its always exciting, they always ahv esomthing to do or volunteer for. It's great that so many opportunities and connections are at your fingertips. Though college is stereotypically all about drinking to get drunk, there are a lot of nights that me and my friends got a little more creative than that. There have been French nights - watching french movies, eating cheese and drinking wine. Or disney nights where we jump back to childhood and watch our favorite old movies. Also the union has a lot of shows to see. It's not all about making a fool of yourself while intoxicated, although it is fun every so often.

Daniel

Varsity sports teams of course. Im involved in the Chinese Club - ATHLETIC EVENTS ARE VERY VERY POPULAR. IF i am awake, i am usually online. Traditions: Halloween, Mifflin... Off campus i go to a movie or get dinner

Casey

The two biggest events of the year are Halloween and Mifflin Street Block Party. Halloween is (in)famous for tens of thousands of people getting wasted, going to State St and causing trouble. The riots have really calmed down in the last 2 years and its more of an official city event now. :( Mifflin is a huge block party that several thousand people go to. Usually starts early in the morning and people just walk around about a 10-20 block area getting drunk. Cops are very cool about alcohol for this event - no busts unless youre causing trouble or selling alcohol illegally pretty much. And then theres the Badger football games...I dont know if I can really describe it. Its just one of those things you have to go to and find out for yourself. I can tell you that it is amazing though! Also should mention that the drug culture has a decent presence in Madison. Weed and Adderall are everywhere with other drugs like LSD and cocaine available to those that go looking for it. Someone probably isnt going to offer you anything randomly (well some guy on State St tried to sell me some acid once) on the streets but if you hang around the right scenes you shouldnt have much of a problem.

Lucy

There are so many clubs on campus I could not tell you what is the most popular. Athletics are extremely popular. Go to some hockey games! They are sooooo fun!

rachel

im involved with the investment banking club. its a great student organization athletic events are pretty popular--very hard to get tickets to anything. frats and sororities are not too important.

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