Phi Slam’s Spring Date Night is not your mama’s date night… but she is certainly welcome to come.
Movies commonly depict college as being full of sports games, exams and many out-of-hand parties. For some in college that accurately describes their experience.
What movies do not show, however, are parties like the ones Phi Slam hosts.
Phi Slam is “a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing alternative environments for people to build healthy relationships.” As Nico Mejia, a second-year member of Phi Slam, puts it, “Phi Slam is a group of guys that throw dry parties in hopes that it fosters community.”
Phi Slam currently spans only two schools. It began at the University of Georgia over 10 years ago and as of last year expanded to Auburn University. This group is made up of between 25–30 men, ranging in age from first-years to fourth-years in college, along with many involved alumni.
The members are typically energetic, personable and willing to go to great lengths to get to know anyone and everyone on campus. The idea behind this is to get the greatest number of students possible to their parties.
Their parties in the past have included Pig Pickin’, Pop-Up Popsicle Party, Necktie New Years, Jurassic Jam and many other eccentrically themed events. On April 25 they will be hosting their Phi Slam Date Night.
Each semester Phi Slam hosts this date night. All college students are welcome to join in on a night of music, dancing and community building. The location changes each semester, with this semester’s being at C&D Cattle Farms.
Your typical movie-esc, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere college party is not what you should imagine for this party. Largely due to the lack of alcohol, Phi Slam’s parties do not get out of hand like those on the big screen.
Party-goers are expected to dress in their best attire, but are more than welcome to arrive in just about anything. John Kutteh, a Phi Slam member and sophomore at UGA says the event is promoted as a party but “people get the idea that it’s a classier event.”
Kutteh says he is unsure of when the very first date night was held, but believes it was sometime shortly after Phi Slam began. His favorite part is “being the first group there and then watching the people slowly begin to pour in.”
Phi Slam members have varying degrees of involvement in the set up and logistics of the event. Freshman responsibilities are minimal, as they are mostly around to experience and observe before their duties shift as they progress through college.
Sophomores are responsible for planning, advertising, and setting up. They create the themes, social media posts, videos, decorations, playlists and a whole lot more to make the best party possible for students.
Juniors and seniors join the fun by offering advice, support and a helping hand wherever needed. Many members come with dates but are primarily there to bring a specific welcoming energy, inviting everyone to be themselves. They recognize that many students may feel uneasy doing so at other similar events.
Mejia and Kutteh both agree that having a date is not the event’s main focus. Phi Slam hopes to create a stress-free event where people are without pressure to have a date. Kutteh says he hopes “people are just as excited and willing to come on their own or with a group of friends.”
Brady Shackelford, a first-year student at UGA and second-time Date Night goer, is bringing a date this semester. He is doing so, he says, because he simply likes having a date and claims not to feel any pressure.
Shackelford found out about the date night via Phi Slam’s Instagram post and will be attending with a large group of his friends, all of which will be accompanied by dates as well. Shackelford’s experience last semester exceeded his expectations but he hopes to “cultivate new friendships” this time around.
Kutteh and Mejia also have a few dreams in mind for the night. Kutteh says if he “could have anything, it would be a limbo competition.” Mejia hopes there is “a point during the night that everyone is dancing, and no one is on the outskirts.”
Phi Slam has promoted their event on Facebook and Instagram, but their most anticipated form of advertising is the promotional video they make for each event. This year’s revolves around John Kutteh as he runs up hill, being dressed and prepared by his fellow Phi Slam members. The one-minute long video currently has over 1,300 views on Facebook.