The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been declared the top party school in America.
Based on survey answers from 136,000 students at 380 colleges, UICI, which has about 31,000 undergraduates, was ranked at the top of the party category for the first time ever by The Princeton Review. Last year the school was ranked fifth, and the year prior they were ranked third.
UIUC officials questioned the legitimacy of the achievement. Spokeswoman Robin Kaler sent a statement from Phyllis Wise, chancellor of UIUC, to USA Today that read:
“This is not a scientifically based ranking. It’s a promotion for The Princeton Review.
Our student body is comprised of the brightest, most hard-working students anywhere. Their graduation rates and achievements in their careers and lives demonstrate that they take their studies seriously and that they are at Illinois to get a world-class education.
It’s disappointing that, once again, Princeton Review is promoting this pseudo ranking as though it were meaningful. It’s insulting to all of our students, since they are here to prepare to become leaders of their generation.”
Kaler herself added about the school’s students:
“They are serious, they are hard-working, and to try to present them as being somehow irresponsible is insulting,”
While it makes sense that university officials are not pleased with being labeled primarily as a party school, students continue to embrace the university’s’ social life in the belief that it is just as important to open up to different social environments as it is to maintain a strong GPA.
Elijah Okpogie, a UIUC senior, says there is a weekend gathering known as “Unofficial” where students party harder than any other time of the year. He also says that on St. Patrick’s day, students “go out early and begin drinking (as early) as 8 or 9 a.m.” Okpogie told USA Today:
“The social scene is very, very good here. People are not afraid to get out of their comfort zone and introduce themselves to others. There’s a really diverse crowd and I really had fun this year.”
In response to the students, officials and parents who do not believe in an award dedicated to outstanding partying, Robert Franek, publisher at The Princeton Review told the Associated Press:
“We have such a high regard for each of the 380 schools. The University of Illinois, it is an exceptional school.”