UNCA students lack of partying affects their spirit and studies


Cassidy O'Neil

Infographic by Cassidy O’Neil.

Cassidy O'Neil, [email protected], Arts & Features Writer

Loud music, red Solo cups and ping pong balls have long been a staple of pop culture, only reinforced by the movies and television that idolize the college party scene for decades now. 

With the rise of social media corporations like Barstool Sports, who reward the extremes of this behavior, going out has turned into an expected part of the college experience for many.

“It’s extremely hard to find something to do on a Friday night,” UNC Asheville sophomore Alex Clarke said.

Instead of looking forward to the weekend like many other universities, students are consistently let down by the lack of social events and nightlife.

“Everyone’s always like ‘we’ll throw a party, or someone will throw a party’ and then everyone ends up staying home because that’s not expected here,” fellow sophomore Thomas Brinckerhoff said. 

Often limited to the apartments close to campus, those who do not stay tapped in might miss out due to the rarity of the occasion. Due to this rarity building managers are quick to call security.

“Here one whisper of a party in Asheville and the Asheville Police Department is stationed outside the door for like 30 people. They don’t even let us try to get out there and socialize,” senior Miranda Barker said.

For underclassmen, the options are far more limited. As a repercussion many college students flock to bars downtown such as Ben’s Tune Up, Beauty Academy or Banks Ave Bar. 

“That’s the only real culture here I guess, going to bars, which unless you’re 21, doesn’t really help until later in college,” sophomore Gabe Belk said. 

According to the UNCA Quick Facts, some students believe the university’s population of almost 3,300 students may be the leading cause of a lack of spirit.

“It could be our smaller size. We also have very few frats compared to other schools. I think the kind of people that go to Asheville are generally introverted,” Belk said.  

This lack of social interaction can be emotionally detrimental to some students, and can have negative effects in their academic lives.

“I can see how it would affect motivation, if you’re just slogging along with your academics and you’re just doing course work. It’s groundhog day, and you don’t have that social peace, there’s nothing to look forward to” said Katie Green, clinical social worker and psychotherapist at UNCA. 

UNCA Director of Health and Counseling Jay Cutspec said the lack of socializing is not at all a bad thing.

“Our student body generally socializes in small groups, and for some folks that’s what they need,” Cutspec said. “There’s a whole other group that wants more than that. As a university, how we tap into that I’m not sure.” 

Not wanting those who are more extroverted to feel left out, the university plans to address student’s concerns by creating nightlife options both on and off campus.

“We are going back to the dance we used to have for homecoming, and it will be off campus at Highland Brewing Company. You can be indoors or outdoors so we have a lot of space and you’re not confined and can socialize with the people you want,” Cutspec said in relation to the homecoming dance that happened in February. 

It’s important for the university to support both sides of the social coin as students’ academic success is often a reflection of their physical and mental wellbeing. 

“We have to know ourselves well enough to know am I missing social connection, am I missing physical interaction. There’s a lot of ways to get there but I don’t think we can ignore that human need and if we don’t get that need somehow, whether it’s through online gaming or meeting in person, we’re going to feel depleted” Green said.