This is going to blow your mind: some students don’t want to drink in college. Believe it or not, every year a small segment of the country’s teenagers heads off to college intending to never take a drink while there. Some teetotal for religious reasons, some for their health, and some just don’t care for the taste of alcohol. Whatever the reason, having such a stance can make for a tough four years at the wrong school. If you happen to be a teetotaler, here are 10 schools where you will feel right at home.
- Brigham Young University
You know we’ve got to start with BYU. Run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the school is notorious for having an honor code that students must sign upon enrolling that forbids them from engaging in drinking, swearing, and hanky-panky. Obviously the school is popular with Mormons, but many non-LDS kids attend and relish their time there, eating ice cream and going to dances. Intramurals are also huge; about 25,000 of the 30,000 students play at least one co-ed sport. Plus there’s 70 student clubs on campus.
- College of the Ozarks
The best thing about CofO is the scenery; who needs drinking when you’re surrounded by the natural beauty of the Ozarks? In the spring, everyone heads for one of several nearby rivers for float trips, or to Lake Taneycomo for waterskiing or relaxing. In the fall you’ve got Mudfest to look forward to. The famous town of Branson is also close to campus, offering musical acts and plays in a family-friendly environment. Drinking is an expellable offense on this stone-sober campus.
- United States Military Academy at West Point
As you can imagine, not much drinking goes on at West Point. None, in fact. When you’re waking up at 0500 every day, drinking until 3 a.m. is out of the question anyway. West Point is the academy for the best and brightest; it takes a nomination from a Congressman to even get in. If you are a teetotaler, chances are you are already fairly disciplined. The regimented but rewarding life of a cadet might be just the ticket for you.
- Georgetown University
Colleges with heavy Greek presences tend to have a strong party culture. With no Greek organizations on campus, Georgetown is a great place to say “no thanks” when offered an alcoholic beverage. The school has more than 200 student groups available, including the Georgetown Program Board, which works to provide all students with “high-quality, non-alcoholic entertainment.” And being located in Washington, D.C., there are always fun and interesting things to do while sober. School officials cracks down on underage drinking, but more importantly, students say their non-drinking peers are accepted and even admired.
- Vassar College
Drinking is allowed at this small liberal arts school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but hard drinkers are in the minority. There’s no Greek system to speak of, and many students spend their weekends hanging out with friends in the dorms or attending campus events. The school offers 120 student organizations, including theater and a capella groups, so there’s always a concert or performance to be enjoyed. Vassar even boasts its own Quidditch league that holds matches every Sunday and Wednesday.
- Furman University
It was only in the fall of 2011 that Furman allowed alcohol in students’ apartments. Because it’s such a new development, the culture hasn’t really caught up yet. It is still a place to go for non-alcoholic fun. If you teetotal to stay healthy, Furman has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, with several running trails to choose from. Many students prefer hanging out to drinking at off-campus bars. And some of your evenings will be spent seeing plays or attending lectures to satisfy the school’s 32-event cultural requirement.
- Washington University in St. Louis
WashU is an interesting case because Missouri has famously lax drinking laws and doesn’t prohibit public intoxication. While you might expect Washington’s campus to be a giant beerfest, the school’s openness about drinking actually makes it a good fit for non-drinkers. All freshmen must complete an alcohol awareness program, and incoming students can request a substance-free floor or dorm where neither alcohol nor drunk students are permitted. By making friends with other teetotalers in your dorm, you won’t have any need to go to frat parties or bars to meet people.
- Swarthmore College
Swarthmore is known for having students who study all the time. However, it’s not cursed with the dreaded “worst party school” stamp. The school is considered very liberal, open-minded, and accepting of different lifestyles. Parlor Parties have become popular dry social nights every Thursday and Saturday. The parties are organized by the Social Scene Advisory Committee as a way to provide students with fun, non-alcoholic events like pie-eating contests, sushi-making nights, and more. With as much as a third of the student body said to be non-drinkers, Swarthmore is a great place to check out.
- University of Chicago
UChicago has a reputation of “it’s there if you want it, but it’s fine if you don’t” when it comes to the sauce. There are many smart kids here who don’t intend to kill off brain cells every weekend. The students that want to drink primarily go to the bars off-campus, but non-drinkers head into the city for plays or concerts. Crazy parties are hard to find on campus, and teetotalers fit right in. Join a few of the more than 300 student clubs and you’ll have no problems lining up some sans-alcohol fun on a Saturday night.
- Brandeis University
With 250 student groups on campus, if you can’t find like-minded people at Brandeis you just aren’t trying. As for drinking parties, they can be found at frat houses, but Brandeis doesn’t have a reputation as a party school. Many students seem to enjoy Brandeis because of the harmony between drinkers and non-drinkers and the availability of alcohol-free, laid-back fun with friends who also are not interested in getting drunk.