Students and Organizers Reflect on Successes and Challenges of “Screw Your Roommate”

On Saturday, Feb. 17, costumed students paraded through Magill Walk and into the Dining Center and Commons (DCC) for the biannual “Screw Your Roommate” event. 

“Screw Your Roommate,” a college tradition dating back to Spring ’83 colloquially known as “Screw,” is a matchmaking event where students pair their roommates or friends with other students in blind dates. The only way for dates to find each other is by matching their often outlandish costumes.

This year, Brooke Findlay ’24, alongside Deborah Kim ’24, Delaney Hawkins ’24, and Erebus Oh ’24, painted their bodies blue to dress as the Blue Man Group – an art company known for their obscure performances – in hopes to inspire other high-effort costumes.

Findlay, who also attended the event during the 2019-20 school year, shared that she is hoping for stronger involvement from the student body in the event’s future. 

“I want to raise the level of commitment to outfits for future Screw attendees. Currently looking around, the effort is low. And I want to set a standard.”

Annie Hauze ’27 and Kai Williams ’24 dressed up as Balloony and Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz from the Disney show “Phineas and Ferb.”

When asked how she made her costume, Hauze said, “I took a condom, non-lubricated of course, and I inflated it. I took a Sharpie and drew the outline of Balloony’s face. Then, I gave him some lipstick.”

Hauze provided her reasons for attending the event. She was set up for a “friend screw,” a version of Screw with the purpose of meeting a possible friend instead of a romantic partner. 

“Our friend Jenna did a friend screw for us, and I accepted because Screw would be a cool way to come out of my comfort zone and meet a new person. And I thought [it] was funny.”

Lina Verghese ’25, the organizer of this semester’s Screw, discussed how Screw provides a space for students to have fun and de-stress. 

“It’s always fun watching the most tense people in our school doing the silliest stuff. Swarthmore is obviously a very different environment compared to most schools. Seeing people dress up for fun, meet people, or start dating because of Screw is always a fun thing to watch.”

Kayla Miller ’25, who organized Screw last fall, said that the event is geared towards building school spirit and providing a space for students to have fun. 

“I try to be big on school spirit and traditions. I know people are a little averse to Screw, but it’s fun to just be silly. I’m glad that the event didn’t die out, and it’s our job as upperclassmen to keep [traditions] going.”

When asked about how she organized the event, Verghese said she simply sent out an email to the whole school, directing attendees to meet their date on Magill Walk at 5:30 p.m. and proceed inside the DCC.

Miller added some difficulties she faced with administration last fall, when she requested the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) to send out Screw invitations to all students. 

“I wasn’t aware that the school itself isn’t allowed to sponsor Screw,” Miller said. “I got a lot of pushback from OSE that they weren’t allowed to even send out an email about [Screw].”

She found it paradoxical that the event was featured on the college’s official website despite pushback from OSE.

“I think it’s because Screw is not a school-sponsored event. Maybe it’s because of the event’s romantic vibes. But Screw is on the college’s official website, which is why I’m confused.”

Verghese and Miller, both Resident Assistants (RA), contacted their fellow RAs to build an email list of all students who lived on campus. This meant that students who live off-campus were not emailed about the event because of the difficulty of finding those emails.

When asked about the future of Screw, Verghese and Miller were unsure who the next organizers would be: “There is no formal baton-passing,” Verghese said.

“I think that could be something instituted,” Miller added. However, she insisted that Screw should remain a student-led event and not be handled by administration.

“No shade to anyone in OSE, but when things are sponsored by [them], they don’t have the best turnout,” Miller said. “The beauty of Screw is that it is organized by students. It would be weird if the school was like, ‘Yeah, let’s get some matchmaking going.’”

Verghese hoped that by instituting Screw, organizers could collect feedback to improve the event. 

“I also want to get feedback as to how we can make Screw more accessible, especially with people who may have a disconnect with friends but still want to meet other people,” Verghese said.

Williams offered feedback for future Screw organizers. 

“Get people to gather in one place in the DCC so that it’s easier to ‘screw-watch’ because screw-watching is important,” he said.

Miller encouraged students to think outside of the box when planning their costumes. 

“Everyone, as a blanket statement, should only do what they’re comfortable with doing,” Miller said. “But there’s only so many chances where you can wear something extravagant.”

Verghese agreed with Miller and reinforced why students should participate at Screw in the future.

 “Swatties, we’re all weird and passionate about what we do,” said Verghese. “One night to take something off our plate and to converse with someone over a meal has a lot of beauty to it.”

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