Last Friday night, two by two, over five hundred Carls left the Great Hall as they began their journey into the awkwardness of the fall term tradition, “Set Up Your Roommate.”
Abuzz with the excitement and nerves that inevitably follow most Carls as they venture into new and foreign social realms, the Great Hall quickly overflowed with students looking for the blind dates their roommates had so carefully chosen for them a few days prior.
Wearing nametags and expressions both of concern and eager anticipation, students milled about, searching for the peanut butter to their jelly, the Brad to their Angelina.
This much-anticipated event sponsored by the Student Activities Office usually takes place on a Friday night towards the end of fall term, giving freshmen a chance to expand their newly formed social circles and experience one of Carleton’s most popular campus traditions.
Dylan Gessner ‘12, Special Events program assistant and co-coordinator of the event, noted that enough students were signed up online the night before the event to put “SUYR,” in terms of participation, “just below the biggest campus events like Mid-Winter Ball, Spring Concert and Rotblatt.”
This year, Student Activities chose to have the matching of couples begin in the Great Hall at 7 p.m., rather than staggering arrival times in Sayles Hill. Students picked up their nametags earlier Friday afternoon and seemed to encounter few complications finding their dates in the crowded Great Hall, with most people paired within a half hour.
In spite of the new event location and time changes, the most hectic part of the event went smoothly.
“I would definitely consider this year’s Set Up Your Roommate a success,” Gessner said.
For most Carls, the appeal of SUYR lies in the opportunity to meet new people in a fun and relaxed setting.
“This is a low-pressure way to go on a blind date, and avoid awkwardness…not that it’s not awkward…’cause it,” joked Julia Baker ‘12, co-coordinator of the event.
Student Activities certainly ensured that couples had plenty of different options of relaxed environments in which to meet and hang out.
This year’s scheduled activities allowed students to explore events in both the arts and sciences, with the Semaphore Dance Concert, a Goodsell Open House and even a “Latin Heat” dance, sure to spice up any dud of a date.
Emily Sykes ’12 appreciated the variety of events offered, and chose to attend both the Goodsell Open house and the musical, “A is for Alice.” Her date started off with a quick meal at Burton, and she “was glad to have the chance to chat and get to know [her] date” before setting off for the observatory, she said.
As a senior, Sykes was happy to be paired with a fellow Carl she might not otherwise have had the chance to meet.
“I think the major draw to SUYR is that you can still meet a really cool new person in what otherwise feels like a limited social scene,” Gessner said.
While most of the people interviewed for this article ended their Friday nights relatively early and ended up having an “OK” time, major SUYR success stories do exist.
Katie France ‘12 had a date her freshman year who took her out to the Olive Garden. She liked it so much that they continued to date for two and a half years.
“I was so excited,” she said with a smile. “My little freshman-self knew he was cute, but I never thought he would go for me because he was a senior and he had really big biceps!”
If you have a similar SUYR success story that might help enhance the event’s appeal in future years, Student Activities encourages you to email them and dish (gessnerd or bakerj).