The Bars Uni Students Interact On A Campus
A university bars is more than a place to study. It is also where people meet other people, forging new friendships that will last a lifetime.
Our research published online in Computers in Human Behavior found that students do not always mix with people outside of their study area or cultural cliques.
However, this could change if universities support social networks that encourage interaction and greater diversity among students.
Student Bars Organizations
Many universities are proud to have active societies and clubs that organize social events for students. These societies often keep track of who takes part in their activities.
It is becoming more common to analyze data from online interactions via social media on campus. However, students are not using data from their face-to-face social activities.
Our study analysed tens of thousand of anonymised records collected by societies at the University of Sydney in order to discover how and where students socialize.
To visualize the data, we use heat maps. Below is a diagram that shows which areas are most popular for students to socialise on campus.
This map does not represent a geographic map, but it does reflect the location of events. Distance between two locations is proportional to how many students like to socialise at both places.
The two bars Manning and Herman’s, located in the hot centre of social activity at this university, are on opposite sides of campus. However, they are close together in this diagram due to the fact that they attract the same type of students.
Three main social activities are evident, which correspond to three main cliques.
Many students enjoy spending time together at bars around campus. This evident by the two red-colour bars.
These two bars account for 10% of the students’ social activities as recorded in the data. Students visit these bars almost 3,500 times per year for society events.
A separate group of students can observed who socialize in and around engineering faculty facilities.
The Peter Nicol Russ Building (PNR) is located in the heart the engineering precinct. It was design to be a large-scale teaching area, but it also serves as the home for the most popular social events like Free Pizzas.
Engineering societies are often associate with students who socialize around the building or on the lawns. These activities are often centre on drinking and barbecues, and less often attended than by engineers.
Students who members of engineering societies are less likely than others to attend events that are not relate to engineering (even though they may be held on campus).
Previous attempts by social scientists to explain the seemingly distinct culture of engineering have failed. Some blamed a particular mindset among students who are attracted to technical fields.
International Students Bars
This third large group of students meets mainly in facilities for international students. They are often affiliated with societies that cater to students from Asian countries.
This cluster hosts many events that focus on the cuisine from the student’s home country. This group is the only one that tends to have events that are non-alcoholic.
While alcohol can bring many students together it seems to drive away others who organize their own events and don’t drink.
Students From Abroad Vs Domestic
An in-depth analysis has revealed that there is a significant gap between the networks of domestic and international students.
In recent years, Australia has seen an increase in international students. Anyone who is preparing to work in a multi-cultural environment or for a career in international affairs can benefit from the education of students from different backgrounds.
Australian universities also have international students as a major source of income. However, our study shows that there is concern over the inclusion of international students to our campuses.
Chopsticks Australia-Chinese Cultural Appreciation Society and WASABI Japanese Cultural Society, for example, are the largest and most active student societies on campus. These societies interact a lot in the international student cluster.
International students seem to enjoy socializing with international students from other countries, regardless of their nationality. However, a smaller number of international students participate in local events.
An example: A Taiwanese Student Association member is eight times more likely to take part in Oktoberfest, a German-themed beer festival than a member of an engineering society.
The map below shows the disconnect between domestic and international students. While the International Students’ Lounge is a popular social activity center, it is quite isolated from other locations.
International students who feel at ease around only other international students miss out on valuable friendship opportunities with local students.