Welcome to a new life

Ariel Lev

This week, about 3,600 new students will find themselves in need of friendship as they arrive at Kent State.

Students who have come to Kent expecting to leave behind the social cliques they experienced in high school could be disappointed. Social segmentation is still around at the college level, but the students from various social groups mingle at least occasionally.

The good news is that with about 23,000 students on the Kent campus there’s a group for almost everyone.

Some people may feel comfortable joining groups to meet people. Others might be content to search for friends on their own.

Sandra Greenwald, senior biochemistry major, and member of chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma. Greenwald said she thinks people often hold standards that are too high for others to meet, so they stick with those similar to themselves.

“People expect everybody to be like them,” Greenwald said. “If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be social groups.”

Not every Kent State student feels this way, though.

Junior music education major Gabrielle Bonar said these social distinctions mean nothing to her.

“I hang out with people of all sorts,” Bonar said.

Parties are one way for students to meet “all sorts” of new people.

For the three-week period at the start of the semester known as “rush,” students who are interested in Greek life spend their weekends attending parties hosted by different fraternities and sororities around campus.

Caroline Lautenbacher, senior magazine journalism major, was the director of formal recruitment for her sorority, Alpha Phi last year.

“I put together and ran all of the parties for my sorority,” Lautenbacher said. New recruits “sign up, come meet all the girls, learn about our philanthropy and narrow down their choices of which sorority they want to pledge.”

However, the Greek scene isn’t for everyone.

“I will never go to frat parties,” Bonar said. “I like smaller parties where we play instruments, listen to music, play cards — just chill.”

College is a busy time for students and many may have a hard time fitting parties into their already overcrowded calendars.

Bonar is a full-time student and a full-time employee of “Reorganize,” a student organization in which members ask people to sign petitions to get issues onto the November ballot.

She also belongs to the Kent State Anti-War Committee as well as the International Socialist Organization.

“I’m so busy between work and school that when I have free time, I usually use it to catch up on sleep,” Bonar said.

Students with demanding majors such as architecture or science also may find little time for recreational activities and parties.

“I spend more than 30 hours a week studying, plus all of my classes,” said Greenwald, a biochemistry major. “I’m so busy I hardly have time to go out.”

But not all students have the busy lives of Greenwald and Bonar. Brittany Widmann, senior fine arts major, said school just doesn’t take up a lot of her time.

“I have plenty of free time outside of class,” Widmann said. “I do a lot of work in class but I never have to spend time on anything at home. I usually spend my free time watching TV or listening to music.”

Although many Kent State students may not have a lot of free time to spend with their new friends, the University offers a vast array of ways to meet them. There is a club at Kent State for everyone, regardless of his or her personality.

“The best thing for students to do when they get here is to join student organizations,” Bonar said. “There are so many groups here that everybody can find something and someone to get involved with.”

Contact general assignment reporter Ariel Lev at [email protected].