Playboy’s ranking of the University’s social scene is inaccurate and unimportant
You have probably heard that we were ranked by Playboy as the best party school in the country. While we pulled off an “uninspiring” 16th place in the sports criterion, we were ranked highly in the other two criteria of night- and sex-life, placing third and second respectively.
Predictably, the University administration decries the ranking and even demands a recount — ouch, even the adults think we are not as cool as we think we are. Among students there seems to be two universal responses to the ranking: a call for more partying to live up to our newfound and somewhat dubious reputation, or bemusement, wondering if Playboy fudged up its numbers or if it was describing a different University.
The ranking was a surprise to almost everybody, probably even to those who live in Greek-lettered houses. The University was not even in the top twenty of the Princeton Review’s top party schools list this year — another Virginia, West Virginia University, took the top spot — and this has only been Playboy’s seventh party schools list in its publication history. Our academic reputation, history and architecture are much more reputable than our social scene. Ask a stranger who does not go here and nine times out of ten he or she will know of the Rotunda or the Law School, but not of Rugby Road. But let us get something straight here: as much as you think that the ranking is awesome or un-awesome, it probably will not have that much effect on social life around Grounds anyway. There will be more debauchery in the next week or two to live up the rankings, maybe, but it will die off fairly quickly to slightly less debauched activities. It is much harder to get people excited over an intangible number than another round of keggers, after all.
There is a lot of debate about the fallout of the ranking. One side argues that having the reputation of a party school is good: being a party school, they say, attracts more students here, which in turn will make the University more selective and thus more elite. I, for one, find this argument amusingly misguided at best and completely ridiculous at worst. Are we really to believe that students who apply here because of our reputation as a party school are the kind of students we want to be here? Sure, academic rigor and an appetite for partying are not mutually exclusive, but I am sure the fine admissions officers in Peabody Hall will make sure that, first and foremost, futures Hoos know how to study before they know how to play beer pong.
The flip side of that argument, of course, I do not have to tell you: There is a natural stigma to being a party school. The phrase itself evokes images of quintessential “Animal House” escapades, of a bunch of kids going crazy and blowing their parents’ tuition money on missed classes and abysmal grades. This is a nightmare scenario, however, that I think will be left largely in our imaginations. Sure, there is always a certain number of students in any university who abuse their freedom away from home, but for the most part, we here are a bunch of overachievers. The mantra around Grounds is “work hard, play hard,” as verified by the quote that Playboy solicited. No matter what you think of our being a party school, let me remind you that though partying is a big part of our culture, it is not the end-all-be-all of social life here. The University is a diverse school; there is something for everyone, even for those who are not partiers. Do not ever feel that you are being left out if you are not going out on Thirsty Thursdays; if someone scoffs at your “Settlers of Catan” game night, remind yourself that that person is not very cool at all. For full disclosure, I spent last Friday hanging out with the Philosophy Club at Revolutionary Soup, watching “The Royal Tenenbaums” with some friends and then playing foosball at the Trigon house. I am spending my Saturday night writing this article. I have never been to a party down on Rugby Road. Needless to say, I was not one to contribute to the number one party school ranking.
_Rolph Recto is a Viewpoint writer for The Cavalier Daily. _