Welcome to the University of Portland, or UP, where living in the dorms is mandatory but visiting the hallways of the opposite sex is restricted. I hope you were lucky enough to attend a public high school, for you'll soon learn what it means to be in a conservative Catholic school. Don't bother trying to find condoms in the health center, any kind of diversity in the student body, or anything to do on a weekend besides seeing a movie in the auditorium; remember that the City of Portland is the real reason you chose to come here.
But as it turns out, UP is actually miles away from the venues, shops, and events that make Portland interesting and unique. Campus life is comparable to that of a Mormon youth group. Stuck with the reality of a bland social and cultural scene up on the bluff, you can imitate most students and dull the emptiness with alcohol. Keep the noise down in your dorm room, though, because ratting on kids who are having a good time is the cool thing to do here.
If you're really desperate for excitement, you can follow a chain of other freshman to a house that your friend's friend says is "The [insert sport here] House." We may not have actual fraternities, but there you can find nearly a hundred Abercrombie and Fitch models torn out of their magazine pages and pasted into a crowded, humid basement suckling at the kegs, surrounded by what would seem to be the only drinking game in existence: beer pong. The beer pong tables take up half the space at UP parties, so be prepared to move through crowded hallways and slippery stairs with the steady current of inebriated bodies. Be careful not to actually enjoy a party, because the public safety staff will promptly show up and issue citations. Hopefully Portland Police will break up the party instead and you will only get a Minor in Possession citation—they're more convenient than a six-page, school-assigned paper about why drinking is wrong and antithetical to University of Portland's Catholic mission.
Have a good year!
Sam Nelson, Class of '08