On-campus parties don't happen because the administration is fairly strict about the dry campus policy. So, students tend to take their beers elsewhere—notably, to student housing off campus. Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights are party nights; students hit up house parties and then head out to the bars around midnight (if they're of age or have fake IDs). There's also almost always something going on at one of the frat or sorority houses, though many students steer clear of Greek life.
When New Paltz nightlife gets repetitive and boring—which, during the winter, it inevitably does—kids who need their party fix head down to NYC or across the river to Poughkeepsie to get their respective grooves on. Overall, New Paltz can be a pretty popping place, a place where students aren't afraid to go all out in the name of a good time; however, many students prefer quiet nights in, catching up on homework or watching movies with friends, and that is totally fine, too. There is absolutely no pressure to be a nightlife socialite.