I attend Lehigh University, a top ten party school, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. My friend was recently approached by a girl in her hall and was asked if anyone did anything here besides drink and study. On the surface, it seems as though there is nothing to do in Bethlehem besides walk up and down East 5th and Hillside street on the hunt for parties, but in reality, there are many things Lehigh students can participate in on and off campus that are substance-free.
1. You don't have to drink to have a good time.
It is not a requirement to drink when partying. It is just as fun to get ready, go out, dance and meet people with or without alcohol. If you chose not to party due to the presence of substances, that is a non-issue, you do not have to participate in anything you don’t want to. However, if you chose not to party because you genuinely do not like the scene then there are options for you.
2. Lehigh After Dark
For students that are adamant about not participating in Lehigh’s party scene, there are activities offered on campus at night time that are substance-free. Lehigh After Dark is a major organization that organizes different events throughout the school year on various nights of the week. Many activities are held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights which are big party nights at Lehigh. Lehigh After Dark provides students with a fun alternative to partying that also gives them an opportunity to meet new people and blow off some steam from tough work weeks.
3. Clubs and Activities
Lehigh After Dark is a good alternative for students that want to participate in nightlife, but also do not enjoy the party scene. However, this may not be the best fit for students who need to blow off steam and still want a good night's sleep. Thankfully, Lehigh has a host of extracurricular activities offered that allow students to explore academic interests as well as social interests while it is light out. Playing intramural sports, joining a dance club or singing in an a capella group are all things Lehigh students can do without too much commitment that can be used to unwind.
4. Off-Campus Entertainment
If you are willing to take a walk or an Uber off-campus, there are a multitude of activities that you can participate in substance-free. I suggest visiting the Steel Stacks which is a former steel plant that has been converted to a center for art and community. Very close to campus is the Banana Factory, another place to view art. It is a short walk off-campus and it displays the artwork of many artists, as well as a variety of art. Festivals are also prevalent in Bethlehem. I would advise looking at a calendar and attending some of the 150+ festivals occurring in Bethlehem every year. Some popular festivals are the Harvest festival, the Blueberry festival, the Southside Film festival and Musikfest which is Bethlehem’s largest music festival.
5. Food and Fun on First Friday's
For those that consider themselves foodies, I would advise taking a stroll downtown. There are so many options for food in downtown Bethlehem. I understand we are college students and can’t afford to go out to eat every night, but that's what First Friday is for. On the first Friday of every month, Lehigh students can explore art galleries and boutiques and live music in the Arts District of Bethlehem. During this great start to each month, many restaurants provide deals for Lehigh students.
Yes, Lehigh University is a top ten party school, but the students here do not only have two options with how they chose to spend their time: studying or drinking. There are so many options for students who chose to live a substance-free lifestyle both on and off-campus. Having a life at Lehigh is not based on whether or not you enjoy the party-scene. If you chose to look past East 5th and Hillside, you will find an abundance of substance-free fun.
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