Wellesley students are nothing if not involved. There is a club for everything and everyone. Student government, and dorm government are big. The different language clubs are also very popular. One of the most visible group of extracurriculars are the "societies." There are no sororities at Wellesley, but the societies function like greek life. They have initiations, and events even though they are technically "literary" or "lecture centered." I'm involved in the Wellesley News which is the weekly paper on campus. It is a lot of work but it's also fun staying up late with the other editors rushing to get a paper out. As for the dorm culture, it really depends on the dorm. In my dorm which is by far the biggest on campus, people don't really leave their doors open. But the ones that are freshmen-centered are more open. Athletic events really aren't well attended- the school has such an academic focus that atheltics aren't a huge deal. There are quite a few speakers on campus but since there are so many schools in the Boston area there are tons and tons of opportunities to go to lectures and events. Wellesley is absolutely a school of traditions. Every year at the beginning of the first semester older girls sign up to be "big sisters" to one of the first-years. As the years go by, your little sisters get little sisters so it becomes a family. It is so much fun to watch your little sisters grow and experience college life, and it is a great system of advice and support. There is also hooprolling at the end of the year. This tradition has been around for over a century. Basically all the seniors get wooden hoops, dress up in their graduation robes and roll the hoops along a course. The winner is then carried into the lake and traditionally, she is going to be the "first to find success." Another tradition is step-singing. The different classes all get behind their banners (each class has a class color) and we try and outsing each other. There is also the infamous "Dyke Ball." The name of the event is self-descriptive so I'm not even going to try and explain it. If you really want to know, come and see for yourself!
Studying tends to be the favorite occupation of many students, but there are also ALWAYS things going on on campus - lectures, shows, performances, movies, even parties. The community from residence hall to residence hall really varies, which can be hard, because students don't always get to live where they want to because of the lottery system. My closest friends are mostly people I met in the residence hall - although several of those I met through residence life, which is at least as much like being in an organization as living together, when you think about how you make friends. Maybe I'm just lame, but my favorite nights are the ones that we just hang out and talk... I've had a lot of 1am pizza, 3am cups of tea, and those are the talks that really make my experience here, because they cover everything - the personal, the academic, fears, hopes, aspirations, intellectual issues, books... I mean, I think that's what creates the strong bonds you see at the big campus events like commencement and convocation and Flower Sunday. Flower Sunday is one of my favorite days of the whole year. First year students are assigned "Big Sisters" and, though every hall has it's own variation, the gist is that the big sisters meet their little sisters for brunch and surprise them with flowers. Then everyone goes over to the chapel and there's a big, multi-faith (more spiritual than religious) ceremony with music and poetry and dancing and everyone being together... It's great to see everyone all dressed up, carrying flowers, and sometimes you'll see groups of six, seven, eight - whole families of Wellesley Sisters sitting together. A lot of music groups and sports teams do Big and Little sisters, too, so your initial sister isn't always the one that you stay most close to, but nearly all my friends have someone they regularly refer to as their Big Sister or Little Sister.
The most popular orgs are cultural groups and "fun" groups like Freestyle. I am involved with the Latina org on campus and I am the LGBT liaison to the LGBT org on campus. Essentially I represent the LGBT voice in Mezcla and I represent the Latina voice in the LGBT group. I arrange sexuality-based programs. I think the majority leave their doors closed. I personally don't get my entertainment from watching sports, so I can't say much about how many people attend. The popularity depends on the speaker- recently we had Levar Burton and his attendance was high. Other times there aren't as many people. I have not dated anyone yet, and it is not because I can't find boys. I am equally interested in men as I am in women, so that is not an issue. I don't think I have found the right person yet to ask out. I met my closest friends through Facebook and similar interests. those friends introduced me to others. I am studying/writing a paper/ finishing an art project or something like that at 2 in the morning, which I am up at that time for the most part. There are many cultural shows that happen annually,Dyke Ball, and fashion show put on by the African cultural group. I think people attend parties quite often- I do at least. It's a way to de-stress after such a tough week. There are two greek groups on campus but I particularly don't take interest in frats or sororities. Last weekend I ran errands, attended a party, and went to have lunch with a friend in Harvard square and bought art supplies. I don't drink, and I can find plenty of things to do that don't involve drinking. We can watch a movie, play games, shop, have dinner somewhere nice, go to a party,etc. When I am off campus I shop, eat, explore, and run errands.
It's not possible to pinpoint the "most popular" groups or organizations on campus because it's not really possible to say that some are overwhelmingly more popular than others. There are groups for everything from archery and Club Filipina to Spectrum, the LGBTQ organization, and Ethos, the black students' organization. There are clubs for individual academic departments, and there's even a Science Fiction and Fantasy club. There aren't any sororities at Wellesley, but there are "societies," which are basically social clubs with emphases on specific things. For example, the Shakespeare society performs Shakespeare plays, while Phi Sig is the "lecture society" and frequently funds and hosts lectures (including and fun one I went to on the future of Mars exploration). Lectures occur just about every day, and some -- such as last semester's lecture by Madeline Albright, a Wellesley grad, and a recent show by Ellie Goulding -- are incredibly popular. During my first year I went to a lecture by Paul Frommer, the inventor of Avatar's Na'vi language (he was awesome); I also attended a fantastic talk by Tamora Pierce, one of my childhood idols. Most students choose to involve themselves in one or two extracurriculars that they devote a lot of effort to. I'm an editor for the Wellesley News, the on-campus weekly newspaper, and I volunteer once a week by tutoring high school students off campus; I'm also the events coordinator for the Pre-Law Society. I also have a job working at the circulation desks at three of the five on-campus libraries. Many students on campus volunteer and/or have jobs, and people rarely have troubles finding a group to grow attached to.
Student government is fairly popular here, as are the various cultural groups on campus who host lectures, parties, and dinners. Sometimes it's hard to dedicate time to a student group when you have so much academic work on your plate, but somehow people manage to do it. I'm involved with theater on campus, and love how Wellesley supports the arts (like almost everything else). Not many people attend athletic events, but crew and tennis are very popular/well respected. The community system that is started from the moment you get at Wellesley is the best way to make friends, and the residential life is amazing (both really supportive and not too in-your-face). Many students have boyfriends from schools nearby, and you can see them dotted all over campus on the weekends. If i'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I am either studying or procrastinating studying, and I don't know too many people who would be doing otherwise. Last weekend I met up with friends from high school who go to other colleges in the area for dinner. Then I hopped on a bus and went to a final club at Harvard (a similar institution to fraternities), met up with my Wellesley friends, and returned to campus for a quiet night of peace! There are very few well-attended events on campus on the weekends, but the cultural shows tend to garner population and the few parties the societies (similar to sororities) have are also fairly well-attended.
Social life at Wellesley can be lacking. One has to make a very special effort to have a social life off of campus. I have a very good time with my Wellesley friends, but it usually includes dinner and a movie. Very often we also have parties on campus, people who are "party people" can find a party on most weekends. In addition, Wellesley girls tend to spend a good amount of time at Harvard and MIT, at one frat or the other. Ive found it quite difficult to make Harvard and MIT friends, but others have found it easy. So I guess it depends. As far as activities and extracurriculars go, you can find something for any interest. Groups on campus are plenty. Im fairly active on campus, and I love it. Most people at Wellesley are involved in extracurriculars. Students at the dorms are very friendly. People do keep their doors open, and become fairly attached to their resident halls. However, every dorm differs. The West side of campus is well known for its great resident life. I lived on the East Side first year and people keep their doors closed more often, but are still very friendly. There is always something exciting going on on campus as far as speakers and events go. There is always a great speaker coming, and its hard to keep up. However, as far as parties and social events go, we do OK, but Wellesley is not a party school.
There's technically no sororities on Wellesley campus, but we have them. They just don't go by that name. Two or three, I think. I'm not really involved personally, but I've been to a few of their parties and gotta say, more drunk people than at other parties. Wellesley hosts a lot of parties, mainly to bring some guys to campus. They're usually very nicely contained and the beer intake is limited to those over 21 (though you can usually find some if you're under). The dating scene is determined by you. You have to go off campus to find a good guy, that's just how it works. If you don't make time, if you don't want to go, you're probably not going to be dating a lot. I'm not gonna lie, you've gotta try a little harder at Wellesley. For guys. One of the biggest groups on campus (apart from the sororities) is probably Ethos, the African American group. They're huge and they're always doing performances. There is also a Shakespeare organization, a Latina American organization, the Davis Art Museum, the Film Society, and the Native American Student Organization (which I'm a part of! Yay!) You just have to get out of your dorm. If you're looking for some activity that requires dancing and there's no party on campus, the bus into Boston is free on weekdays and runs late.
Depending on where you live (dorm), you can either live on the floor/dorm that always locks their doors or leaves their doors open so you can stop by and say hello and vice versa. First semester I lived in the former scenerio. Second semester, I lived in the latter. So I can only say this- open your doors!! Now I don't mean 24/7 but when you are in your room and can afford to reply with a hello to passing floormates, then you should open your door. What most women worry about when they accept to attend Wellesley is where they will find their guys. When I came to Wellesley, this wasn't even a problem- I liked both women and men. My problem would be whether or not someone also liked women. But sometimes it is very easy to tell whether someone was not straight. There are plenty of parties hosted both here at Wellesley and nearby colleges (Harvard, Olin, Babson, MIT, Boston College, Boston University etc.) for students to go to and look for their guy/woman. There's the Wellesley Exchange bus that runs by Harvard and MIT so that people from those schools can come to Wellesley and the other way around. It's definitely not like we are trapped in an enclosed "women only" environment- there's ways to meet other people.
There are literally TONS of different organizations and clubs on campus ranging from a capella singing troupes to political organizations to international clubs. There are lots of performances on almost a regular basis too-- from guest speaker lectures to concerts to theaters. People generally are quite social, and it isn't unusual to have impromptu hallway dorm parties for even just a few minutes. There are also lots of traditions, such as a nondenominational service in the fall called Flower Sunday, Senior Hoop Rolling and Step Singing. All of these traditions keep the Wellesley community a tight community of sisters. People can party at fraternities at nearby universities, or on campus but there are always options for different people. It is absolutely not necessary nor expected of each student to party with alcohol every weekend, though if that is what the student wants to do, she can. Off campus, people usually walk to the nearby "ville" to run errands, or enjoy a coffee. Also, people go into Boston and Cambridge quite often just to people watch, shop, eat out or hang out.
Each dorm has it's own social characteristics: the new dorms are predominated by science and math majors and tend to be pretty quiet and boring. The Quad is a bit crazy sometimes and you can find large groups of friends all sharing one hallway. The tower complex is where the party is at (if there is any party on campus) and is the biggest of all. Stone-Davis has the best food and is a healthy balance between the New Dorms and the Tower Complex. Athletic events are popular if you are on a team, but otherwise, don't expect a large fan base. Speakers are everywhere all the time, talking about all sorts of things. I met my closest friends because I lived in the same hallway with them during our first year. If I am awake at 2 AM on a Tuesday, I am studying, finishing a problem set, writing a paper, or still hopelessly procrastinating with my best friend by watching YouTube videos.