Disclaimer: I attended Purchase from 03-08. At the time of writing this, it is September, 2010. Beyond my knowledge, perhaps things may have changed since I went to school here. However, I recently visited for a day (against my will) and re-familiarized and at home with my opinions of the school.
-Fantastic Humanities department.
-Engaging classes, helpful and creative professors.
-Small class sizes allow for in-depth, personal, and occasionally humorous class discussions.
-Fellow classmates seem genuinely interested in class material.
The student body. The student body. The student body.
Aside from a couple (and I mean, literally, two) friends I have made here, I intend to actively avoid and shut out of my life everyone I have met at SUNY Purchase. By my last year, every time I ran into anyone I recognized, I immediately thought of some means to escape the situation, so as not to be trapped in another monotonous conversation about PBR, the 60's, Indie music, organic farming or the vagaries of campus construction. It's not that these topics of conversation are in of themselves doomed to boredom, but that almost no Purchase student has the wit or courage to escape them. Everyone is so impersonably insecure with their own personality, and rightfully so, because hardly anyone brings anything new to the table; Purchase students are notorious for circulating the same low-level, uninspired new age counter-culture tropes to desperately avoid acknowledging the gaping chasm where campus community should normally be. Do the words "administration," "economy," "personal responsibility," and "government" turn your stomach into knots? Congrats, head right in! Be the New Hippie, and poeticize your anachronistic fate by going clothes shopping at thrift stores and dumpster diving for food--not because you're legitimately poor, but because you want to "feel closer to nature" (and so why not grow a pound of beard hair while you're at it? And ladies, unshaven armpits and legs will substitute just fine!)
This is a campus culture inextricably caught in a slow, slow, humorless inertia--and I mean HUMORLESS!! Nobody here laughs! Everyone is too busy being a coffee shop poet, or a free-lance photographer, or a performance artist, or a yoga metaphysicist, or a drama queen, or a chain smoker, to laugh! I swear, I forget how to make light of my life when I stay too long on campus, the very place itself is like a disease that seeps to the blood when exposed too long to the skin.
To put it short, SUNY Purchase is morbidly obsessed with mock profundity and recycled self-irony, and in the end there is hardly ever such a thing as "Think Wide Open." There is a constant air of victimhood that stinks up the place, as well: nearly every student feels disenfranchised, either by the government, high school, society, the media, gender stereotyping, genetic malfunction, sheer physical weakness, cigarettes, masturbation--etc--so that nobody has the drive to fight for a meaningful college experience. One cannot escape the feeling of mediocrity.
But the majority of students like it here. Or, they tolerate it blandly. Regardless, there is no doubt that just about every Purchase student was repeatedly beaten up in high school, and as a result, completely lacks self-confidence and integrity of will (there's antidepressants and weed for that anyway). So, SUNY Purchase supplies a haven for such categorical losers to come together, unanimously celebrate their lack of character and strength, and, thus, they may feel equalized among themselves--no longer pressured by THE MAN to feel the weight of their own existence (until they graduate, and suddenly find themselves without practical skills or a job!) But yes: they come together and unite in a big group hug, and then they hold hands, and then they bitch and moan and sob on one another until the ground itself liquifies from tears and cheap beer (and it DOES get quite saturated, the majority of the campus floods during rainstorms due to improper drainage).
I believe what this place needs is a kick in the ass. People need to get in fights, smack each other around, go back to the stone age for a few months and learn how to be assertive, competitive, and passionate. Take a risk with who you are, believe in yourself! I want to shout that to every single person I come in contact with at this school! But the effort would be wasted, they're too set in softy liberalism, and there's just too many of them and too few people like myself. I know how arrogant I've sounded throughout, and I apologize if that raises doubts toward my credibility, but after 5 life-crippling years at this school I feel I have the right to lambast it to the farthest extent. This place has left a huge scar on me, a diploma that certifies 5 years of my life wasted in trying to habilitate myself among dying and dead souls. What a colorless, gray, unsanitary mess. They should just take all those bulldozers, level the grounds, and start over.
tl dr: Don't even think about going here if you're into sports or fun.