party school-embrace it or deny it?

Although we are well into the Fall 2010 semester this is a topic that will never be dropped.

Prior to the opening of a new school each year, typically in April, the Princeton Review releases its annual college rankings. Topics such as “top jock schools,” “best college town, and “happiest students” are among the numerous categories presented in each publication.

Perhaps no category receives more fanfare around these parts, West Virginia, than “best party school.”

In 2010 West Virginia University was granted the position of No. 2 top party school in the country, right behind the University of Texas-Austin. 

Notoriously known for its high rankings on the list the image of WVU is affected all the time with demeaning consequences and rash interrogation.

I see this on a daily basis.  

When I usher around high school students and their families I am asked a host of questions regarding University policies and lifestyles of Mountaineers. I hear anything from “can freshman bring a car to campus?’ to “how much snowfall does Morgantown get in the winter?” No question is asked more than, “is West Virginia really a party school?” I have to give a straight-forward, honest answer which is:


Why lie?

Students at WVU can be found embracing the party scene really on any given day during the week. Conversations that resonate in classrooms really do revolve around “going out.” Basically, slang for drinking and hitting the clubs.

Now, don’t get ahead of youself and think that I’m an advocate for this outlandish mentality. I don’t just tell parents that we are a party school and leave it at that, there is much more.

The clear answer, while being yes, goes back to the student themselves. The main objective for going to college is to get a first class education in hopes of brightening personal horizons and landing a rewarding career. That’s not to say there isn’t time for fun along the way. There are many opportunites for life skills and advancements at WVU and there are so many facets of this University that students should take advantage of.

But its not just at West Virginia.

Really, college itself should be considered a party. No matter where you go across the country campuses are going to have parties, its part of the college lifestyle. Its just up to the student to balance the fun and studious sides of being a college student.

In 2007 when WVU was regarded as the No. 1 party school in the land then-president Michael Garrison refused to acknowledge the title or give any comment on the issue.

That was not the proper way to handle it.

This new regime, led by president Jim Clements takes on a different attitude, the right one in my opinion.


“If you look at this (party school) list, most of the universities that are on it each year are large, public universities with very strong academics, research and outreach, and also major athletic programs that have achieved great success,” said President James Clements in a statement.

“Some of the very finest universities in the country typically find themselves on this list because they, like WVU, enjoy a campus rich with both academic and social opportunities.”

Clements brings up an excellent point. Why not embrace this fact that Morgantown is a great place to study and have a good time.

The perfect balance.


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