UC Reveals Results Of Social Life Survey

Among Harvard undergraduates, varsity athletes are most satisfied with their social lives, according to the results of the Undergraduate Council’s social life survey.

According to the results, varsity athlete status or membership in a student organization with property had a significant impact on social experience. Organizations with property include final clubs with off-campus spaces and student-run activities that own buildings, like The Crimson and the Harvard Lampoon—a semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine.

Participants could identify with a variety of different categories, like membership in a final club and work-study eligibility. Conducted from Nov. 14 through 19, the survey, which had 1371 respondents, was intended to gauge student opinions of Harvard’s social life.

The results of the web-based poll were presented by Johnny F. Bowman ’11 to the Committee on Student Life during a meeting yesterday morning.

Bowman said that the survey was meant to “essentially just figure out which students are having more fun than others and how we can reach those students.”


Of those surveyed, 62.9 percent were female and 36.5 percent were male. The remaining 0.6 percent identified as transgender, other, or preferred not to name their gender.

The majority of Harvard students reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their social lives.

Two percent of women and about four percent of men reported being “very dissatisfied” with their social lives.

The survey also asked students to identify which factors influenced their decision to stay in their dorm on a given night instead of going out.

Students reported that having too much school work or being too tired were their biggest deterrents from socializing.

Bowman said that he found this result “surprising.” According to him, the UC’s current initiatives target lack of available social space and lack of knowledge about social opportunities, two factors that students ranked lower among their reasons for not going out.

Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 brought up the results of the freshman survey during the meeting.

He said that the major complaint was a lack of cheap, non-alcoholic social opportunities on campus.

“Freshmen want more free events,” Dingman said. “So many of these are costly—they can’t afford to go to concert after concert.”

To address student concerns with Harvard’s social life, Bowman suggested that the administration consider the possibility of transforming Holyoke Center into a student center, an idea that University President Drew G. Faust has entertained in the past.

He also said that the UC should continue to encourage its Student Initiated Programming fund grant program, which provides funding for medium-sized parties where alcohol may be served.

In addition to reviewing the results of the student life survey, the committee also discussed shifting the date of the activities fair during Opening Days. This academic year, the fair was on the first day of classes, which administrators felt was overwhelming for students—especially for first-year students who had not yet acclimated to Harvard academics.

The revised schedule, presented to the committee, proposed that the fair be shifted to later in the week.

—Staff writer Monika L. S. Robbins can be reached at

—Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at