Syracuse University has been named the number one “party school” in the US, but its administrators say they are not in the mood to celebrate. The private college in New York state topped the annual ranking, which is compiled by the Princeton Review based on a survey of approximately 130,000 students across 379 US universities.
Syracuse has climbed the list from fifth place in 2013, but in a statement published by the college’s student newspaper, the university said: “Syracuse University has a long-established reputation for academic excellence with programs that are nationally and internationally the best in their fields. We do not aspire to be a party school.”
The party ranking is one of the few such lists that rarely features an Ivy League university: none of the eight prestigious north-eastern colleges made the top 20. Instead, the remaining slots in the top five were taken by the University of Iowa; the University of California, Santa Barbara; West Virginia University; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Three of 2014’s top 12 party schools are in Pennsylvania, three in Florida. An official from the University of Iowa, which has sunk from the top spot to number two since 2013, told the Daily Iowan: “It’s good to see that we’re moving in the right direction on the party school list. The data that matters most to us is the one that shows decreases in high-risk drinking behaviour.”
One popular saying at the Midwestern university, whose football team is known as the Hawkeyes, goes: “Win or lose, Hawks still booze.” However, that’s as nothing to the antics of football fans at West Virginia University (WVU), who last year set several fires and flipped a car in Morgantown, West Virginia, after a win for their team, the Mountaineers.
According to the Charleston Daily Mail, celebrating WVU students have lit as many as 50 fires following football matches over the past 10 years. In 2012 the university’s student union launched a campaign to dissuade other students from setting alight sofas in celebration.
California’s UC Santa Barbara was rated sixth in the sub-category “Lots of Hard Liquor”, and 11th for “Reefer Madness”. The authorities there were also unimpressed. “For a decade, UC Santa Barbara has been considered one of the top 10 universities in the world in terms of research impact,” the college said in a statement. “This year’s incoming freshman class was the most academically competitive in campus history. These figures are the true indicators of UC Santa Barbara’s academic excellence.”
The party school ranking is one of 62 different top 20 lists published in the 2015 edition of the Princeton Review’s “Best 379 Colleges”; the Princeton Review is not connected to Princeton University. The charts are based on questionnaires submitted by more than 300 students per campus, which assess their satisfaction with various areas of campus life, including academics, athletic facilities and food.
There is also a ranking of “stone-cold sober” schools, which this year was topped – for the 17th year in a row – by the Mormon-run Brigham Young University in Utah.