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2012 Fall Issue 8 (November 9, 2012)

Love, Friendship, and Awkwardness: Set Up Your Roomate Returns

November 9, 2012
By Naeh Kluges-Mundt

Students flocked to the Weitz Center last Friday to meet their date for the evening in celebration of Carleton’s annual “Set-Up-Your-Roomate” night (or more colloquially referred to as “Screw Dates”).

Organized by the Student Activities Office, students were paired with each other on campus via each others’ roommates.

With this weekend in mind, students have extra incentive to start off the year on the right foot with their roommates. While the date need not be romantic, it provides a chance to meet someone with whom one might not ordinarily spend time.

The pairing can simply be random on the part of the roommate, or perhaps done by means of identifying someone with similarly predisposed interests.

Event organizers Gillian Fitz ‘14 and MacKenzie Persen ‘14 had a lot to be proud of Friday evening. With nearly 600 participants this year, the event has grown and changed from last year’s affair.

SAO revamped the system by tweaking a few things this year, and these changes seemed to work well. Fitz and Persen were vigilant about ensuring no one was inadvertently matched with more than one person – a mistake made more than once in years past that can lead to an awkward “three’s company.”

Other than logistics, Fitz and Persen also added a touch of taste to the event, providing cupcakes from recently-opened bakery Cakewalk.

Perhaps the greatest trademark leading up to the event is the unique nametags each student receives earlier that day.

The nametag is paired with that student’s match, providing the codename of the person who’ll become their date. Some nametags were topical of current events, such as “Evans looking for Renovation.” Others poked fun at various academia, such as “Math major looking for social skills,” and “Geology major looking for a shower.” Others still were purely nerdy, including “DNA-binding domain looking for gene.”

Students of all years participated in the event, but the experience often differs amongst different years. Freshmen tend to be the most giddy, excited about the prospect of meeting someone outside of their ever-expanding friend circle.

Said Fitz, the event is a “great way [for one] to meet someone they would not encounter in their day-to-day routine […] it’s always an interesting story.” So whether one is set up with their best friend or someone completely new, the night’s primed for excitement.

Groups on campus tend to be receptive about holding events that Friday evening, providing a wide array of activities for dates to attend.

These included the likes of Semaphore, Cujokra, A Capella groups, a Goodsell open house, and various theatrical performances. A walk in the Arb or a walk into town can also be fun.

Fitz and Persen have seen their fair share of both awkwardness and romanticism while students are searching for their date in the Weitz Center.

They observed some seemingly finding their match, but proceed to purposefully wait a while to make confrontation.

A few even brought flowers for their mystery date. Perhaps the one mistake that can be made is informing one’s screw date a few hours in that he will be covering the event in the Carletonian.

Remarked Rachel Levit Ades ‘13, “Woah! Really?” But when all is said and done, it’s always best to be yourself that evening. Not often does one encounter the opportunity to display their unique personality to someone new without worrying about awkwardness, and the charm in that is invaluable.

Sometimes, Persen adds, the sparks fly. There have been instances wherein couples have emerged following the magical evening.

While that’s obviously not the intent, it’s always cute and makes for a great story to be told. While the odds are stacked against your finding of true love, you never know when a spark will ignite.

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