Students Participate in Spring “Screw” in New Venue

On Saturday, Feb. 11, costumed students filled the Dining and Community Commons for the biannual Screw Your Roommate event, a Swarthmore tradition where roommates set one another up on blind dates. Despite Screw’s longevity (originally starting in the 1980s), it is not formally organized by a club or student organization. Instead, it is organized by a student, often a member of the senior class. This year, Anwyn Urquhart ʼ23 took the lead on ensuring Screw’s return this semester. Their motivation to organize this year’s Screw Your Roommate came from a desire to revive post-COVID campus traditions.

“I’ve had many conversations with seniors [and] people who were at Swat before the pandemic hit, feeling like there are some traditions and quirks of Swat that we love that have been forgotten due to this break and interruption,” Urquhart said. 

Despite these worries, younger classes are partaking in Swarthmore traditions. Aurelien Carretta ʼ26 was set up on a date by his friends and enjoyed meeting someone new. He believes having the dates in the Dining Center made it less awkward. 

“I think either way it’s gonna be a public place so I don’t think the fact that it was at Sharples changed anything,” Carretta said. “If anything, the fact that other people were doing Screws made it even easier. You have people looking as they walk past and stuff, but it didn’t feel weird at all to be doing it at Sharples.”

The public nature of Screw was important for Sofia Perez ʼ26, who didn’t go on a date but set her roommate up on one and enjoyed observing. She went through multiple date options while trying to find a match for her roommate. Although Perez felt nervous asking people if they would be interested, setting boundaries about what the date meant made it easier. 

“I think the most important thing with Screw is to clarify that it’s a goofy thing,” Perez said. “It’s not a serious thing. So people have no expectations for a long-term relationship.”

Perez believed the matching process brought her and her roommate closer. However, she wished that the tables in the Dining Center had been pushed together, allowing pairs to eavesdrop on other dates. She also hopes to see more adventurous costumes in the future.  

Urquhart agreed that costumes could be improved for the next iteration of Screw, and remembered more complex ones from their freshmen year. However, they did enjoy the Flo from Progressive and Jake from State Farm costumes and thought they were the best of the night. 

“I think part of the absurdity of the event is [that] everyone is not only going on dates literally next to each other in our dining hall but [they are] also dressed in kind of silly costumes,” Urquhart said. 

Urquhart explained that they believe Screw works at Swarthmore because of the personalities of Swatties themselves. 

“I’ve never met an uninteresting Swattie,” Urquhart said. “I think it is what I love most about Swarthmore — you can talk to anyone on this campus about anything and it’ll be a fascinating conversation because people are just doing such interesting things.”

Perez also believes shared personality traits among Swatties make Screw a unique, Swarthmore-specific experience.

“It works because everyone is just socially awkward,” Perez said. “So if you’re really shy, there’s a high chance the other person is also going to be really shy, which makes it funny.”

Moving forward, Urquhart hopes younger classes will carry on traditions like Screw while also allowing new ones to blossom. Anwyn feels her class has an obligation to maintain pre-pandemic traditions, but with graduation coming believes it is time to pass the baton. 

“We [Class of 2023] are the last traces of the institutional memory, pre-pandemic,” Urquhart said. “[It is important to] not be resistant to change and want to accept any adaptations or new traditions that bloom from [new classes]. But we also still want to have those core things that make Swarthmore such a wonderful place.”

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