Dorm Diaries: Socializing without Drinking

Living in a residence hall is lively, memorable and can jumpstart life-long friendships. Even with UW-Madison being one of the largest party schools in the United States, drinking isn’t the best icebreaker when meeting new people. Network beyond drinking by sitting in social areas, attending campus events and maintaining an adventurous attitude (safely, of course)!

1. Study in your dorm’s common spaces

It’s more fun to study with other people, whether you end up getting work done or not. Times of stressful studying can make for strong bonding experiences, too. Even if you go alone to study, there’s a good chance you’ll strike up a conversation with another person there. After all, you live a few rooms away – don’t be strangers! 

Students “study” together in Smith Hall, more laughing is done than homework completed. Photo courtesy of Jessica Gregory (2018).

2. Attend dorm events – even if they sound lame.

UW’s dorms and dorm floors host monthly events for students to get to know each other. Oftentimes they involve free crafts and snacks. Depending on how many people attend, you may be able to make multiple of whatever is being offered. In past years, dorms hosted indoor sports contests, trivia, canvas painting, plant potting, movie nights, and other de-stressing activities just to name a few.

Smith Hall hosted a cupcake decorating contest to see who could create the best Bucky Badger! Photo courtesy of Jessica Gregory (2018).

3. Simply make an effort!

Within the first week especially, meet and greet with as many people on your floor as possible. Invite your next door neighbor to grab lunch at the dining hall. If their favorite Babcock ice cream is Orange Custard Chocolate Chip, don’t make a gross reaction. Create an intramural ultimate frisbee team with dorm mates even if you’ve never played before. 

Be both willing and comfortable with trying new things – either you will find a new hobby or have a funny story to tell!

Freshman students swing dance at Lathrop Hall. Photo courtesy of Jessica Gregory (2018).

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