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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Date Knight tradition experiences challenges after campus directory change

Carleton’s time-honored tradition of Date Knight (formerly called “Set Up Your Roommate”) has undergone significant changes this year as a result of changes to the campus directory. Students, who no longer have access to student residence information online, will correspond with friends, as opposed to roommates, of potential dates for this year’s Date Knight event on Saturday, November 9.

Information regarding campus residences was removed from the directory on September 9, 2019. As a result, students cannot search for an individual’s dorm room number nor identify that individual’s roommate(s). The directory changes presented a major logistical problem for Date Knight. Traditionally, Carleton students have coordinated dates for their roommates by contacting the roommates of potential matches. With the directory’s removal of all residential details, this is no longer possible.

“The directory change is different than what most students are used to, which can be tricky,” said Miiko Taylor, Assistant Director of Student Activities. “Historically, the event was focused on students pairing their roommates. With the changes to the campus directory, we knew we would have to alter what we normally do.”

The Student Activities Office (SAO), which sponsors Date Knight with the Student Activities Programming Board (SAPB), considered several solutions to preserve the tradition. “We did consider different ways of organizing the event, and creating a list of roommate pairings was an idea,” Taylor explained. “But this ultimately did not seem possible. We don’t have a way to maintain a list of roommate pairings that we could 100% guarantee would be accurate and would update in real time if people changed rooms. That could lead to confusion for participants, which we did not want to risk,” elaborited Taylor.

Taylor also noted that publishing a roommate list could violate students’ privacy rights. “We also want to respect student privacy and we understand that some students do not want their room information available to everyone on campus.”

SAO’s current approach is to encourage friends of students to arrange the matches and organize dates. This has been the standard method for students living in singles who participated in Date Knight. According to an October 27 all-campus email from Myat Thant Sin Naing ’21, Special Events Coordinator on SAPB, the steps for arranging a date are as follows: “Check with your friend and make sure they’re okay being set up on an anonymous date; contact the date’s friend and confirm via email or verbally; after confirmation from the date’s friend, fill out the official request form on the SAO website.”

Taylor is optimistic that this new system might increase student participation. “As with any change to a long-standing program, it is hard to tell what the outcome will be until it happens,” Taylor stated. “I think it might be easier for some students to participate this year because there are so many outlets now. If you happen to know your prospective dates’ roommate, you can still contact them, but you could also contact a prospective dates’ teammate, classmate, or someone involved in their same student organization.”

Departing from the customary roommate system redefines the Date Knight tradition. The event has traditionally emphasized pairing roommates, granting it the informal nickname “screw your roommate” or “screw-date.”

“We were curious to see what Date Knight would be if we expanded that concept,” Talyor explained. “Our hope is that students are creative with the new format and will expand who they reach out to to pair their friends with.”

Date Knight is scheduled for Saturday, November 9, with festivities beginning at 7:00pm in Great Space in Sayles. Activities will include dance and a capella showcases, a Firebellies-run “restaurant,” a film screening, and a stand-up comedy show.

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