Students find it easy to miss class, but difficult to miss parties.
Now that the initial feeling of excitement that filled campus when the University of Tennessee was named the nation's No. 1 party school has faded, students report they still feel as though the ranking was well-deserved.
In August, The Princeton Review released the results of its annual national survey of college students, in which UT topped the list as the best "party school." The survey was based on responses from 65,000 students nation-wide indicating high uses of beer, liquor and marijuana, an active Greek community and the low number of hours students spent studying.
A recent survey conducted by students in UT's media research classes asked fellow students about their partying habits and leisure activities, as well as their opinion on education in regards to the school's new ranking.
"I think it is awesome that UT is the No. 1 party school. I enjoy the party scene here along with many other students," said Ben Metz, a sophomore in architecture.
The poll indicated students ranked the quality of their social life significantly higher than the quality of their education. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being highly satisfied, 26 percent of students ranked the quality of their social life at a 10.
"Here at UT we don't pay for our education, we pay to party," said John Anderson, a senior in political science.
A number of factors contributed to UT receiving the ranking of No. 1 party school. One major component was the social activity of fraternities and sororities on campus. Of students surveyed, members of Greek organizations spent more time partying each week on average than non-Greeks.
"I feel that this is untrue. Greeks are a group that would be easy to pinpoint as partying, but I do not see it as a problem for Greeks more so than non-Greeks," said Ashleigh Emmitt, Panhellenic president.
Earlier this year Brooks Moore, fraternity affairs advisor, commented that Greek activities should not be a factor in a school's "party" status. Approximately one-third of students polled were members of social organizations and less than 20 percent of the university's total population is Greek affiliated.
Students were also asked about their opinion of UT deserving the best party school title. According to the survey, class rank played a role in whether or not students agreed that UT deserved the ranking. There were significant differences in the opinions of freshmen as compared to the opinions of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with agreement being less supported by freshmen.
A reason for the freshmen response could be because freshmen have not attended UT long enough to be exposed to high amounts of "partying," nor were they students at the university when the ranking was being determined. Freshmen are also in the process of adjusting to the college atmosphere, and have not built a solid friend base.
The long-term effects of this ranking were also discussed in the survey. Students were asked if they felt their degree from the university would depreciate in value as a result of the ranking. A majority of students with a grade point average less than 3.0 reported they do not feel the value of their degree would be lowered. Conversely, a large number of students with grade point averages of 3.0 to 4.0 believed the ranking would decrease the value of their degree.