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Social Life and Sports

College social life is an important part of the university experience. College dormitories, now often co-ed, may operate as independent communities. College athletic rivalries bring students together under one cause–to beat the other school. Fraternities (for men) and sororities (for women), are special clubs of college students. They customarily identify themselves by using combinations of ancient Greek letters. These organizations may provide housing for their members, hold dances and social events, and frequently have exotic (and sometimes dangerous) initiation procedures. Some colleges do not allow fraternities and sororities.

College sports can be big business for the institutions concerned, especially in football and basketball. In both these sports, professional leagues rely on the college system to groom their future stars. Major football and basketball games between colleges can fill large stadiums and arenas, generating substantial income from the sale of television rights as well as lucrative sponsorship revenue. Because of the high pressure environment at the top sports colleges, there have been occasional recruiting scandals in which supporters of college teams have illegally given money to promising high school athletes in order to convince them to play for particular schools. Team rivalries between colleges can be intense, extending to lifelime loyalties among the alumni of the schools.

Beyond the big sports and the big sports schools, most colleges of any size give their students numerous opportunities to engage in team and individual sports ranging from boating to tennis, lacrosse to chess.

Culture. In many communities, colleges act as cultural and entertainment centers, providing everything from art shows and ballets to film and theater festivals. Life on a college campus can be vital. Many Americans prize their college years the most fun they ever had. Others take the college experience quite seriously.

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