A More Inclusive Social Scene for the Well-Being of All

“Work hard, play harder” has long been the spirit of many competitive colleges, Colgate being one of them. However, when it comes to the social scene at Colgate, “play hard” almost always boils down to the dominant party scene. Scrolling through social media, we see tons of great party pictures of friends being silly, dancing and laughing together. 

Partying is great—dressing up nicely and dancing to the deafening music without a care for anything stressful. For some people, this is an effective way to decompress. However, for others, the dominant social scene at Colgate creates more stress, as these parties promote peer pressure and exclude people who do not enjoy them as much.

Although there are a number of engaging clubs and organizations on campus, many students still equate fun with parties and feel the pressure to go to be a part of the dominant social scene. Oftentimes, parties become the criteria for determining someone’s place on the social hierarchy. Further, due to prevailing gender dynamics, parties often become competitions. Those who throw the “best” parties, those who are invited to the “best” parties, those who have the most “fun” at parties—it all becomes a popularity contest. As such, those students who do not lead a party lifestyle are excluded from the dominant social scene entirely. 

Being marginalized at a small school can be especially difficult. Marginalized students often share the feeling of being “out of the loop”, as if everyone else is meanwhile “in the loop.” Such a situation can often cause the student to have a less than ideal college experience. At times, it can even play into different psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and other challenges. A more inclusive social scene would definitely be helpful for students who feel marginalized at Colgate, a school known for such a dominant party scene.

So are there any opportunities for infrequent party-goers to socialize? Are there ways to deconstruct the social hierarchy? As mentioned before, there are other options including interest groups and other organizations for students to meet and socialize. However, students often do not get ahold of information about these organizations as much as they do about parties. It would be very useful if Colgate could find ways to promote these opportunities. 

Besides already existing clubs and organizations, Colgate could also create a safe space welcoming to all people’s identities. In this kind of environment, students could gain a more genuine understanding of one another, rather than making assumptions about who they hang out with based on people’s ethnicity, family background, friends, etc. Ideally, students would be genuinely willing to get to know one another and find solidarity although they may seem different at first. Many people have baggage of some sort, even though sometimes it seems as though they don’t. A safe space where people could choose to let go of their facades would truly help many students feel less alone.