On Saturday, Oct. 28, Magill Walk was filled with princesses and princes, Barbies and Kens, and angels and devils wandering around searching for their other halves. Costumed pairs began filling up tables at Dining and Community Commons (DCC), signaling the start of another “Screw Your Roommate.”
A long-standing Swarthmore tradition, “Screw Your Roommate,” or “Screw,” involves setting up roommates or friends on blind dates and coordinating matching costumes for participants to find their dates during the event. Originally held only on Valentine’s Day, hosting Screw during Halloween weekend was a post-COVID addition in response to the strong appeal of the event among the student body.
Calling Screw his favorite Swarthmore tradition, Michael Pham ’25 views it as an opportunity to not only dress up, but also meet new people.
“You get to meet someone new [and] you just don’t know where that could lead you,” Pham said. “Maybe it’s a friend or maybe it’s something more – it’s just a fun little interaction.”
Emmanuel Olusheki ’27, who was set up with someone he already knew, also enjoyed his experience.
“[My screw date and I] don’t have classes together, so we don’t hang out as much,” Olusheki said. “I think this was a good opportunity to just get to know more about her and talk to her.”
Having heard about Screw as a beloved tradition, Zuri Eason ’27 expected to see more people participating in it.
“I thought it was going to be more of an event … I thought I was going to see a lot more people doing it, but some [were] just having dinner as usual,” Eason said.
Agreeing that there was less participation, Alyssa Wheeler ’26 said there seemed to be a difference between recent and pre-COVID Screws.
“Me and my friends went to look at the archives of photos [from Screw]. Some people really did commit to the costumes,” Wheeler said. “I think some people still do commit to the costumes, but I also saw some that did not dress up at all. I think there’s less enthusiasm, which kind of stinks because it’s a really cool tradition.”
Pham also noticed that there seemed to be fewer people on Screw dates compared to previous years and noted the lack of congregation spaces in the DCC.
“I miss the setup in old Sharples where all the students would congregate in the fireplace area, so it was really funny seeing 30 to 40 people at a time trying to find each other,” Pham said. “Here, there’s only a few people at a time, so it wasn’t as fun seeing people try to match up.”
Olusheki believes that the poor turnout might have been due to the late notice for Screw this semester.
“The email was sent out four or five days before the event. I know a lot of my friends wanted to do Screw but they were saying ‘Oh, I don’t know who I want to be set up with or which costumes to wear.’ So maybe more of a heads-up beforehand would be nice,” Olusheki said.
Also hoping for more participation, Wheeler wished the tradition would be advertised more, especially after numerous questions about the event were posted by confused students on Famvent, an app where students can post thoughts about college life and connect with others.
“I want there to be more of an effort,” Wheeler said.“The administration could advertise and not necessarily interfere in the process, but just make the tradition more well known. Even on Swarthmore Famvent, there were so many freshmen asking ‘When is Screw, what’s it’s like?’ This is supposed to be a pretty popular tradition that we do, so I feel like there should be more that’s done to put it out there and create some hype around it.”
For the next semester’s Screw on Valentine’s Day, Eason encourages people to just try it out.
“You will like it at the end of the day. You’re probably just going to make a friend since it’s not necessarily for dating. It’s called a date but I don’t think it’s like that for most people, so it’s pretty low stakes,” Eason said.
Echoing the same idea, Olusheki recommends people to have more fun with the tradition.
“There’s no reason to be nervous,” Olusheki said. “Enjoy dressing up and talking to someone. Maybe you know them, but if you don’t, just enjoy the experience of talking to someone and getting to know them better.”