Vassar College Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Matt

There is a pretty wide range of groups with a strong grouping of athletes and theater kids.

Dawson

Vassar gets incredibly interesting speakers. These range from the Attorney General to world-famous authors. We have INCREDIBLE concerts with really well-known artists. The social life is what you make it -- join one of the nearly 150 student organizations, and you'll quickly find a brilliant group of friends. Each organization receives a large budget to plan activities and host huge events.

Brian

I am the Editor in Chief of the Miscellany News, Vassar's newspaper since 1866 (miscellanynews.com). Since the first week of my freshman year, I have soaked myself in the Miscellany and have devoted ridiculous amounts of time to the paper. This year, we launched a new Web site with lots of continuously updated multimedia content. Check it out to get the inside scoop on Vassar! I should say that I don't actually have an interest in pursuing journalism professionally; I'm Pre-Law. Law schools look favorably on applicants who work on college newspapers, because editors must learn to manage their time, express themselves clearly, and research topics thoroughly. So although I love the Miscellany News and have learned so much from being its editor, I do not actually intent to pursue a career in journalism. (For those who are interested in journalism, though, the Miscellany is a wonderful place to start!)

Robin

Most weekends, multiple events are going on- acapella shows, Barefoot monkeys (circus club), dance shows, plays, lecturers, sporting events, musicians, etc. But if that isn't really your scene- not a big deal. A lot of people just listen to music or watch movies / TV shows with friends. We do party on the weekends, but it's not a big deal. Again, we are a very liberal campus- if you don't drink, you can still hang out with your friends. Security is fairly easy going with the campus' biggest concern being students' safety and not getting you into trouble.

ant.

Ladies, men will be in high demand since there are so few of them that are straight, within those, so few will be attractive, and even within those, even fewer will be single. Guys, girls will be all over you.

Rory

Anything you could ever want--a capella, ski team, outing club, rugby, habitat for humanity, buddhist sangha, movie screenings, plays, a lake, trees. Going to events aren't popular unless you are going to support a friend. No Greek life at all. People often rely on drinking and drugs to have a good time.

Kay

In dorms, a lot of people leave their doors open. You can always hear music or laughter--it's generally a nice place to live. I met my closest friends in my fellow group. Every freshman gets a fellow group that they eat with for the first couple weeks, which I think is a great idea! We also have some fun traditions at Vassar. There is Serenading for the freshman, where freshman from each dorm serenade the seniors while having chocolate and other gross stuff poured on them. It sounds disgusting, but it's a good bonding experience and all in good fun. Founders Day is another awesome tradition--it's a carnival day that has concerts and food and ends in fireworks. One thing that I love about Vassar is the fact that we don't have sororities or fraternities.

Devin

Social life is stunted and weird on its bad days, close-knit and lukewarm on its good days. Here is the cycle: workworkwork, drinkdrinkdrink, have a semblance of normal interactions while drunk, wake up the next morning, feel awkward about it, and then back to workworkwork. As far as the romantic front goes, everyone here is either married or in dysfunctional dating situations--the male/female ratio puts a weird spin on things, regardless of sexual orientation. Be a straight man here---you won't do anything for four years except get interesting, brilliant, attractive ass, round the clock.

Jesse

There really isn't much to do outside of campus. Students usually go to The Mug, the on campus "nightclub/bar", or senior housing to party. The school also hosts big parties occasionally. We often attend those.

Steve

Security is getting more strict, although compared to other schools they are fairly tolerant. Lots of people (but definitely not everyone) smokes pot. Big parties are at senior apartments or nearby off campus houses. People never charge each other for alcohol, booze is always free (never 5 bucks at the door like most schools). The mug and school-sponsored dances are also popular on weekends, mostly with people who have already been drinking and want to dance and/or hook up. In general, there are usually big parties on thursdays, fridays, and saturdays. otherwise, its dead. a lot of freshmen leave their doors open. otherwise, "open door" policy varies dorm by dorm, even floor by floor. Athletic events aren't popular AT ALL. Finance is getting more popular with students. The finance club was just started, and the CDO is now putting more focus into the financial fields.

Tristan

All groups and clubs are popular on Vassar campus because in this area students are very diverse. Music and theater organizations tend to be popular, but it is not difficult to find friends to attend a sports event with (even though sports are not very well-known at Vassar). See what I wrote in "the Big Picture" for more social information.

KJ

There is plenty to do here if you pay any attention whatsoever. Student theater is huge, and it is really a great opportunity to see shows for free. There are several all-campus parties, which mostly involve music and dancing in line with some kind of theme, and most people drink during or before. There are some keg parties in senior housing, mostly just people standing around outside drinking and talking and playing drinking games, and there are personal parties of every shape and size, most of which also involve drinking. Alcohol is a definite factor on campus, though I know people who don't drink (I think?). And there all kinds of events that are not alcohol-centric. Though again, someone who is vehemently opposed to all drugs and alcohol would likely feel a little isolated. The social atmosphere in the dorms is great - so much so that I do most of my homework in the library where I won't get involved in conversations and will actually be able to accomplish something. There are always people hanging around to talk to in my dorm, though it is rarely raucous on weeknights.

Allison

Vassar social life is almost completely campus based. We do a LOT of dancing on the weekends, and senior housing is always a good place to go for parties. We don't have greek life on campus, but that doesn't stop us from having fun even a little bit. The dorm communities are really close. Usually everyone on a hall gets really close. Our student theater is really popular. There's a huge community that participates and nearly everyone goes to shows every weekend. The library is a really social place. It's always packed, and you always see someone there you know to study with.

Julie

During my experience, almost everyone leaves their doors open in the dorms. There are no sororities or fraternities contributing to an overall unification of the student body in terms of social life. Students do not normally leave the campus at night to party, there is an on campus dance club, in addition to frequent senior housing parties.

Julia

Athletics are not prominent on campus unless you want them to be. There is no end to the activities and events on campus... there is always something fun/interesting/educational to do. The number of people who go out on the weekends (and sometimes week days) far outnumber those who don't. There is a healthy mix of big parties and small get-togethers, though.

Alex

Drama, Rugby, Frisbee, International Students, outdoor kids, geeks, brooders.

Jenn

There are tons of activities at Vassar. There are always guest speakers, dinners, sports games, performances, the list can go on and on. People are every friendly, they always leave their doors open and people even hang out in the hallway at night - chitchatting about their day. Vassar does not have frats or sororities so the party life is not as crazy. Seniors do hold parties at their senior housing; it's a great way to meet people since that's where everyone usually goes on the weekend. If you're not a party, you're drinking smoothies at UPCDC, dancing at the MUG (on-campus club), taking walks, watching movies, watching performances, going to the Mall, playing pool in your dorm....

Nora

There is always something to do, no matter what your interests are. Even a night in the dorm can be full of adventures. However, some people do find that it is hard to participate in many events (private and campus wide) without drinking. This is my one complaint.

John

In terms of activities, students are very (often over-) involved. A cappella, sports, theater, and political organizations are among the most popular. Students often support their friends involved in such activities by attending shows or games. Guest speakers are always well-attended. Dorm pride makes a fair showing, and students can generally feel comfortable leaving their doors unlocked (though there has been a recent surge in dorm theft). Generally, your closest friends are made in your dorm and extra-curricular activities. Students enjoy time with their friends in the dorm, in ACDC, and at social events. All-campus parties are held with some frequency, and these always provide a fun Friday or Saturday night. Drinking is prevalent on campus, but is mostly controlled. Those who don't choose to drink will not have a problem finding things to do, however. The drinking culture at Vassar is one of choice, not pressure (mostly), and there are always performances and other events that non-drinking students can enjoy.

Parker

Well, I took 6-8 dance classes a week while I was there, as well as being on the polo team, and sometimes being in student plays. That should tell you something about the availability of activities, though I certainly didn't get much sleep!

Felicia

I'm in the barefoot monkeys, a very awesome circus group. I came to Vassar as a very uncoordinated, anti-physical, sports hating, and very prone to stage fright freshman. I saw the monkeys do a show and instantly wanted to be able to do what they did. Our skills range from juggling balls and clubs, to balancing (things on our faces and other people standing on our shoulders) to spinning a variety of props (poi, staff, rope dart, fans, hoop, devil sticks) and we can do all this with props that light on fire. We do at least 2 major shows a year and many small ones. The moment you join, everyone is very welcoming and wants to teach you whatever you want to know. It's hard to learn some things, but every second of work is worth it.

Charlie

I always leave my door unlocked, but no one really leaves their door open. Their is an unwritten rule of trust that no one will steal. Most people party Thursday through Saturday, but there are some people who party on Wednesdays as well. People get really drunk in their dorm rooms with a group of people and then head off to the senior housing where there is normally a party with a dj and more alcohol. Vassar also throws a lot of parties throughout the year. The best ones have been the Halloween party, Skantily Clad (everyone goes practically naked), Heaven and Hell, and Dormal Fourmal. The Mug (the campus bar/ dance club) is open all year round and a lot of people end up their every night of the week just to dance.

Laura

Athletic events aren't very popular at Vassar, but the administration has been making an effort to raise school spirit on that front and I think it has been pretty successful. People are generally very supportive of one another's accomplishments. Students don't do too much off campus, although occasionally really cool bands will come play nearby. Theater is big at Vassar and there are a lot of musicians on campus as well. Most people meet their closest friends freshman year in their dorms or in clubs that they join. Because classes are small it is common to become friends with peopl you meet in class.

Amanda

lots of clubs, lots of activities (dances, lectures, programs). lots of smoking, relatively high amount of drinking

Morgan

People party ALL THE TIME at school, which is sort of excessive. But people get so close to one another because of dorm life there's always something to do. Living in a dorm is a fantastic experience, especially Jewett House!

Chris

If you don't want to drink on a Saturday night, there are generally some kind of campus-sponsored event that does not revolve around alcohol. That said, going drunk makes these activities much more entertaining and prevents them from getting boring. They are repetitive and usually lame, otherwise. Some students party every night and some not at all. These two groups rarely interact. The weekend generally consists of pre-gaming with friends in dorms, stopping by at a campus event, and then going off to senior housing. This cycle repeats two or three times a weekend, every single week, and it gets exhausting and very, very old.

Becker

The social life at Vassar is typical of any small, liberal arts college. There are parties with kegs and sports teams, itinerant stoners laying about. Drugs are a pretty big deal at Vassar, but they are easily avoidable. Students rarely leave campus, which is a shame, because the downtown Poughkeepsie area is actually quite charming

KJ

There arent a lot of cliques at vassar, which is great. you can have a lot of friends who have different interests, live in different dorms, etc. No fraternities/soroities help this. There is a lot of drinking, and sometimes it feels like you cant go out unless you want to drink, but thats your choice, and its fine too.

Liz

Sports are not a huge thing at Vassar except among athletes. Athletes love their sports, they love their teams, and they are usually supporting other athletes as well. Traditions = serenading, Founder's Day (he's a brewer....), All College Day, I Won't Grow Up Day, there is something going on every night, from comedy shows to music to film screenings to lectures. NO frats and sororities and its amazing!

Sasha

I'm a part of the Barefoot Monkeys, which is our resident circus troupe. We do acrobatics, juggling, staff, poi - if you can light it on fire, we'll play with it. The group meets several times weekly to play and practice fire, and we also perform on Parents' Weekend and several other times throughout the year. We've also done shows at other schools - we performed at Haverford's Haverfest several times, and we sometimes visit (or are visited by) the circus groups at Yale and Oberlin. Vassar doesn't have fraternities, but I like to joke that we don't need them - the a capella groups and sports teams fill that role! This weekend I am planning on dying my friend's hair blue, then playing an as-yet-to-be-invented version of Candyland that will involve differently-colored mixed drinks to represent the different colors of the Candyland board. We like to drink at Vassar, but we like to be creative with our drinking.

Katie

Student theater is HUGE on campus. There are endless opportunities to get involved in all aspects of theater, from acting to set design or lighting. You don't have to be a Drama major, either, in fact most people who are involved in student theater aren't majors. The dating scene can be frustrating for girls, even though there ARE definitely straight guys at Vassar. There just aren't as many as most girls would like. Also, since the school is relatively small, rumors start to fly and people can earn 'reputations' pretty quickly. Random hook-ups are not uncommon.

Reese

Popular activities are the sports teams. Dorms are very casual. Students do leave their doors open and it's a nice atmosphere but you have to remember that it not utopia; there is theft so leaving your door wide open when you are not around is probably just not smart. Athletic events are a lot of fun to go to- they are becoming more popular as our teams improve but generally all athletes go and support each other if they don't have their own sport conflicts. Some fun Vassar traditions include: primal scream the night before every exam period (basically a big bonfire on the quad, people running around naked and screaming, smores and pizza. not mandatory but fun to watch from a window), Founders Day (end of may, all day drinking fest with a carnival and all that stuff), Gays of our Lives, Seven Deadly Sins Party, Halloween (is huge), BiDormal Formal- there are tons of school organized events which end up beign a lot of fun. Plus there are always student parties anyway.

Frances

There's a wide range of clubs from dancing, technology, activist groups, to anime. There's something for everyone.

Chris

People are INVOLVED here. They do things - plays, concerts, sports, whatever it may be. I'm in every choir on campus, do a varsity sport, and play around with the on campus circus when I have spare time; while that's a bit much for most, very few people are loners. The lack of frat culture means that parties are pretty casual; actually, "pretty casual" describes most of Vassar. People leave their doors open; dorm culture's very strong, and people tend to travel in packs. If the weather's nice, people go outside, but the short distance inbetween buildings means that people will brave winter to go do things.

Andy

you will see that most of the asians tend to congregate together, and so will the blacks/African Americans/Africans -unless you are culturally white.

Rachel

Sports are not very big at Vassar, though soccer and basketball games tend to draw some fans. Theater groups are popular, as are political groups and volunteer organizations. Students in dorms don't leave their doors open when they leave the building, but many don't lock them. And if they remain in the building, they often will leave them open. There is a lot of trust in the dorm communities, and I rarely hear of theft issues. My closest friends were all in my dorm freshman year. Founders Day is the biggest and most exciting event on campus each year. It's an all-day carnival celebrating the founding of the school, and everyone gets involved. People party every weekend, and a lot of people (though not everyone) do drink. There are always a lot of things to do that don't involve drinking--plays, musical performances, movies, etc. every weekend.

Sonia

Some students leave their doors open; others, myself included, don't. Athletic events are not as well-attended, sadly, as guest speakers or theater productions (of which there is an absurd amount- at least one show every weekend). There is always something to do on campus, and drinking is not necessary to have a good time, though many students do choose to imbibe on weekends (and sometimes on weeknights).

Reese

I am the Co-Vice President of the College Democrats - we get involved in campaigns, host panels, and throw parties for political events I am never awake at 2 AM. On most Saturday nights, I rent one of the many fine movies our library offers for free.

Jerry

We are not primarily a drinking school. Heads, teds, keds, beats, smokers, tokers, lovers, cheechers, sharers, steerers, clearers, those of the green and the leaf and the tea, come one come all cuz this is an intellectual school and we don't destroy with alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol, C2H5OH, so much as we create and daze out spool out connect on dream spawn memory quake put the brake on smoking that shit kid don'tcha kno that weeeeed destroy de brain not so not so not so if used correctly man, fogit abusing that reefer man, you must learn sooner or later thatcha can't smoke every 5 hours and still hand out motivation drive function junction....marijuana culture is so elegant here, it is a never ending learning experience, social divulgence, indulgence, interaction. Just use it widely, don't fall prey to the bullshit and git yo shit done mang!

Chris

well the sports teams are laughable, although the presence of such novelty sports as Quidditch always makes things interesting. There's a lot of drinking, but it's easy to avoid. Student-thrown parties generally suck, but the school throws plenty of its own and those are usually really good. There are tons of student organizations and so many events going on that it is impossible to keep up with everything, but at least you're never bored.

Aaron

The VSA (Vassar Student Association) completely funds and organizes most of the organizations on campus. It's incredibly efficiently run, and the elections processes are very fair. We have TONS of orgs, and it's fairly simple to start a new one if there's a demand for something that we don't yet offer. There are a LOT of parties, plenty of the big ones sponsored by residence houses and/or orgs. We attract more lecturers, performers, and groups of people doing "stuff" than I'd even care to talk about. Scores of weekly emails from the people at the campus activities office contain so much information about the coming weeks' happenings, few people even have time to read through the entire email. It's a very active campus. Dating Scene= Hooking-up Scene and seeing where it goes from there. Lots of homosexuality, don't be grossed out. You've been warned. Straight girls: SOL. Straight guys: lucky lucky lucky ass motherfuckers. Gay guys: you're in pretty good shape. Gay girls: eh.... eh.... sort of.

Ellen

Popular groups on campus include a cappella groups (there are something like seven), comedy troupes, VSA (the student organization), VICE (the music organization), Philaletheis (one of the student theater organizations), QCVC (Queer Coalition of Vassar College), and so many others. I personally am in one of the a cappella groups on campus, and we perform multiple times on campus throughout the year. I wish that the administration were a little bit more invested in the organizations on campus--funds seems to be always at a low--but for the most part, I'm more than satisfied with the way organizations are received on campus. Students in the dorms will definitely leave their doors open if they're not busy working or sleeping or whatever else. There is a common misconception that Strong House, the all female dorm, is not as friendly or as social as the other dorms because it's quieter. This is not at all true. I lived there for two years and met my best friends there. Some of the greatest parties I've been to were thrown in Strong. As they say on the tour, every weekend at Vassar, there are multiple things to do. This is 100% completely true. Guest speakers, programs, concerts, plays, performances--you can find just about anything. And students flock to them, for the most part. Everyone on campus really enjoys the things that Vassar has to offer, socially. The college throws some awesome parties throughout the year, too, like the Halloween party and the numerous balls/dances that the dorms organize, and they're always tons of fun. At Vassar, there is often a "work hard, play hard" mentality. The weekend starts on Thursday nights, usually, because few students have class on Friday. Most parties take place in senior housing, though dorm parties definitely happen, too. Usually, people will start the night in their dorm with friends before heading out to senior housing later on in the evening. Once the weather gets nice, the parties will happen outside, and people will all congregate on the lawns between senior houses. Matthew's Mug, the dance club on campus, is always a hot spot during the week. Every night is a different theme (Tuesdays, Jazz Night; Wednesdays, 80s/90s Night, etc.), and people will often end their nights dancing it up with friends there. It's a staple on campus.

Ian

People at Vassar relish parties, and there are no shortage of them. Due to the lack of Greek life and an extremely liberal policy towards drinking on the part of the school administration, one can expect to find at least one party in and around almost every dorm on campus three or four days out of the week. The school and various student associations put on one or two dances almost every weekend, and the major student activities organization here is well-funded enough to pull in several big-name DJs and bands a year. Those not into the party scene can enjoy the dozens of college-funded student groups on campus, from activism groups to card and video gaming associations to the intermural Quidditch team. Vassar also hosts a vibrant arts scene, and there are dozens of concerts, recitals, plays, and film screenings each month.

Jordan

On any given Saturday night, there's usually one humongous party over in the Senior Housing off campus and outside, with about 200 kids who mostly just want to dance and find someone to hook up with. Then there are MANY smaller parties taking place inside a lot of senior houses and among the underclassmen dorms. I find those more fun.

Blake

There's so much to do here that you never have to leave campus. For example, last weekend we had M.I.A come and perform, our circus group put on their biannual fire show, we had a student production of "War of the Worlds" go up, and the Drama Department had an Experimental Theater project in its closing weekend. And that's just Friday/Saturday. The weekend at Vassar starts on Thursday night - or if you're really ambitious, Wednesday. Bros beware: there are NO frats or sororities at Vassar. As a member of the rugby team, I can safely say that it is DEFINITELY better this way. There is no way that I would be able to do everything that I do if I was playing on a team with forty meathead brosefs.

Tate

Vassar is big on a cappella groups, comedy groups and drama stuff. We do not have a greek life and we can't really imagine having one. Our parties are pretty good anyways. There are always parties in the senior houses and every few weekends Vassar will host an awesome party (free beer!). We have a night club on campus...everyone usually ends up there after hitting the parties. It gets hot and sweaty but you learn to put up with that. Vassar does have a shuttle that runs into Poughkeepsie and to the mall, etc. It's usually good to have a friend with a car or have one yourself. You'll definitely feel better when you can get off campus.

Julia

Vassar social life revolves around the dorms and around student organizations/teams. People are friends with the people they meet in their residence halls, classes and extracurriculars. Theater events are usually pretty well attended, as are some of the more popular sporting events. The best part is that many students choose to participate in both theater and athletics. The party scene is pretty standard. There are big parties thrown by seniors and by the college, and you can go or not go, drink or not drink. It's up to the individual, and there are plenty of other things to do, such as a capella performances, comedy shows, etc. There aren't frats or sororities, so the drinking isn't pressured or sketchy.

Rudy

-honest student body -met my friends in ways too random to account for -plenty to do on the weekend -definitely a weekend (thur-sat) party school -you don't have to drink. plenty to do on the weekend. -the dating scene can be tricky. more of a hook-up centered scene. i have a gf here, so i don't have to worry about that nonsense anymore. -essential events: primal scream+streaking+late-night breakfast the night before finals, revelry that is Founder's Day (Matthew Vassar's B-day)

Elizabeth

I've never gotten so many facebook invitations...there seem to be at least eight dance performances/dinners/fundraisers/comedy shows/plays/acapella shows per weekend, so being bored probably takes more effort than finding something to do. Each dorm also sponsors two campus-wide parties per year with interesting themes like Seven Deadly Sins or Moulin Rouge (and yes, these are actually pretty well-attended!). Senior housing is pretty much the place to go for the rest of the party scene, though smaller get-togethers in dorm rooms or suites can be a nice break from the bigger crowds. There's not much to do in Poughkeepsie (although the new Vassar shuttle is helping that situation) but New Paltz is a cute college town about 25 minutes away by car and of course there's always New York City.

Alex

Lots of music around, and theater.