Drinking/Greek life

<p>Hey does anyone have an idea of the party atmosphere at Hamilton? I don't want to go to a "party school" and especially not that is exclusive to members of Greek life. Honest answers appreciated. THANKS!</p>

<p>I graduated from Hamilton in 2010, and I'm sure it hasn't changed much since then. Of schools that allow Greek life, Hamilton is one of the least Greek-oriented. They aren't allowed to have houses on campus (the houses have been turned into awesome upperclassman housing) so parties are open to the whole student body. Friends who visited me were always surprised by the non-exclusive nature of the social scene. Some parties were held off campus, but tickets were sold to the whole student body and transportation was available to everyone. If you're looking for a party, your average weekend night will be a choice between two on-campus parties held by greeks or other campus organizations, like a cappella groups. Plus there's no "fratty" vibe to the parties--they're just parties. They begin to get old after freshman year, but Hamilton students are nothing if not creative about ways to have fun.</p>

<p>In addition to the bigger parties, you'll mostly find smaller groups dotting campus on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The suites on the Dark Side are especially popular for gatherings because they have a little more space, suite-style buildings on the light side (like South) will also host larger groups. These are the bread and butter of the Hamilton social scene. You'll find drinking games at most of these, but Hamilton kids are smart enough to respect the decision to abstain if that's your choice. (Just don't rush certain Greek organizations if you're not into heavy drinking!)</p>

<p>That being said, there's stuff going on that doesn't revolve around drinking. Hamilton gets GREAT concerts. Seriously great concerts. There are movie nights and live student concerts, too. There's plenty to do that's organized by the school, but the thing that will get you through four years on a frozen hilltop (I say that will all the affection in the world) is a tight group of friends. If you find kind, creative, fun kids to chill out with, you'll never be at a loss for a good night. You can throw your own bizarrely-themed parties, venture off campus together when you're an upperclassman, build snow forts together (these can be impressive), or just play D&D if that's what you're into.</p>

<p>I didn't identify strongly with either side of campus (Light or Dark), not with geeks, artsy kids/hipsters, tech kids, etc., so I've spent time with all of them. There is a group for EVERYONE at Ham. The earlier you find your buds, the better. Like every small school, it gets harder to break into a new group of friends after freshman year. Try as many clubs and groups as you can from the get-go. </p>

<p>Hope this helps!</p>

<p>hey thanks so much! just wondering...what's the difference between light and dark sides of campus?</p>

<p>dark side is artiser and more hipster i think...but it's kind of a stereotype (...?)</p>

<p>To start, the campus has a pretty harsh physical divide--College Hill Road runs through the middle of it, more or less defining the two sides. The dark side was a pretty liberal women's college called Kirkland until it joined with Hamilton (all boys) in '78. So you have modern architecture on the Kirkland side (dark side) and your standard collegiate architecture across College Hill Road on the light side.</p>

<p>There's also a sharp academic contrast between the two sides. The art and music classes are all held in Kirkland buildings, while the science center and gym are both on the light side.</p>

<p>Unfortunately the two sides aren't just stereotypes. There are PLENTY of kids who defy the binary system, but it largely goes as follows: artsy, hip, bohemian kids like the dark side. There's a cafe (Opus 1) that caters to kids who like vegetarian and health food there (though they've opened one across campus, too, and it's just fantastic food). These kids probably like that most rooms (except for freshmen) are singles. Your Nantucket reds, athletes, critter flip flops, and Barbour jackets will largely be on the light side. There are fewer singles to be had and it seems like they're more inclined to have roommates than dark siders for whatever reason. The light side is more stereotypically "fratty," but more than a couple greek groups are based on the dark side, they just have a different personality.</p>

<p>So yes, there's a noticeable contrast. If you visit you'll see it. However, I can't stress enough that Hamilton students will ALWAYS surprise you. Every time I thought I had someone figured out, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, for example, that sort of catty sorority girl is a really talented art major, the dark side D&D player is an econ major with his own business underway, and that New England prep kid is a theater major. Hamilton students are not going to care where you live or how you dress. Once you start to "get" the school (after freshman fall, I'd say), you know better than to put your peers in a box. It's more unified than it seems, but that might not be clear to everyone at first glance.</p>

<p>I should also note that there are parts of campus that defy classification (affectionately referred to as "gray," haha). Some people feel a strong pull towards one side, but lots just want to live close to their academic department. The walk across campus does get old come February!</p>