Illustration by Selena Qian


Several weeks ago, senior Solveig Naumann committed to IU for the 2016-17 school year. The flagship campus of Indiana University and the largest university in the state, IU Bloomington is also known for its prevalent party culture.

Naumann said although she is not a fan of the party culture and doesn’t see herself participating in it, she knows several people who are planning to go to IU for this aspect of the university.

She said, “I believe there are other ways to have fun, and I don’t think I’ll become a part of it.”

Naumann said she would rather get involved socially in other ways.

“I think that I will get involved by going out with friends to dinner or doing smaller get-togethers. I also plan on getting to know people through clubs and different organizations,” she said.

Counselor Stephanie Payne said joining clubs, activities or organizations allows students who are not interested in parties to become socially involved in college.

She said, “If you are involved in a club or organization then those people are going to have the same passions as you. It’s a great way to meet other people who are maybe a little bit more like yourself.”

 According to Harry Pettibone, College and Career Resource Center counselor, the social aspect—in other words, the college culture—is one of the four factors of fit a student must look at when making a college decision. The other factors are academic, financial and physical (location, campus). The cultural aspect branches out into five different types of college cultures: collegiate, pre-professional, creative, intellectual and activist. Though a college campus can have a combination of all of these cultures, it is likely that it emphasizes one or two.


“I think that it depends on the person, so different people will consider different things. I think everyone should consider what events (or) traditions the school has, clubs that interest that individual, how much emphasis is placed on sports versus academics, cultural groups and a school’s values.”

Senior Solveig Naumann

Pettibone, who is currently working on projects regarding these different types of college cultures, said the party atmosphere, along with athletics, falls under the collegiate category.

Naumann said she believes a college’s culture goes beyond just the partying. She said because college makes up a significant time period in a student’s life, he or she must consider the culture as they make their college decisions.

“I think that it depends on the person, so different people will consider different things,” she said. “I think everyone should consider what events (or) traditions the school has, clubs that interest that individual, how much emphasis is placed on sports versus academics, cultural groups and a school’s values.”

Naumann said she thinks party culture is prevalent in some universities because of the sense of independence students share when they first enter college.

She said, “I think parties are such a big part of some schools because college is the first time that students are away from their parents and have less rules, so they feel that they can really let go. I think that parties are definitely a big part of big schools such as IU because so many students go there, and many of them may share this mentality.”

Pettibone said he agrees that the sense of independence is where the party atmosphere stems from.

“A lot of it has to do with freedom from the stringent rules at high school. A lot of the times, the ones who lost control of themselves and their life by partying too much and losing the sense that ‘I’m here for academics,’ are those who maybe had tighter reins in high school, and the parents didn’t trust them, didn’t give them the responsibility,” Pettibone said. “The student who has had a sense of adult responsibility, they’re going to be able to handle it.”

Pettibone said he believes the partying and participation in social culture is part of the maturation process and the entrance into adulthood, but it must be done sensibly.

“To be honest with you, it is a rite of passage, I guess, for students to party and have a good time in college. Those who you think would never, do indulge in partying. It is a matter of doing it with common sense and being able to understand there are limitations on it. And remembering your priority—not to party, but to get the grade.”


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Laxmi Palde