As another successful SYR season draws to a close, some students will reminisce about an unforgettable night with the dance partner of their dreams, while others will breathe a hefty sigh of relief as the stress of dates and last-minute Amazon purchases fades. Wherever you fall along this spectrum, we can all probably agree that attending an SYR is an important tradition here at Notre Dame.
The dance has been a staple of the Notre Dame social scene for many years, though this tradition has evolved greatly since its early stages. The acronym was once commonly known to stand for “Screw Your Roommate”; SYR used to be an opportunity for roommates to set each other up with dates of their choosing. Moreover, these roaring dances used to take place inside the dorms themselves. This lasted until the fall of 2002 when administration insisted that all SYRs be held outside of residence halls, a policy that sparked backlash from the student body.
The October 31, 2002 edition of Scholastic featured a piece expressing students’ discontent with the new policy. According to the article, many students feared the change would take a toll on dorm spirit. Although today it may seem typical to us to have our dances in luxurious South Dining Hall or LaFun, to students in 2002, these new sites diminished the SYR spirit; Commissioners voiced concern that “SYRs not only [would] lose their dorm flavor but also feel too much like they never left [high school].” Some dorms saw their ticket sales plummet, an effect that was attributed to the disputed new rule. The outrage demonstrated by the 2002 Notre Dame community leads one to ponder the possibility that current students may have missed out on a more unique style of SYR. One thing is for certain: Despite doubts almost twenty years ago surrounding the future of the dance, the tradition has lived on.