Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Jayal: Dillo Day: Does Northwestern know how to party?

Dillo Day had a rude start. I had smug plans to sleep in to avoid the midday exhaustion that would no doubt afflict most Northwestern students. Unfortunately, I live in Bobb Hall, and was awoken early in the morning by the sound of freshmen shrieking “Happy Dillo!” to one another in the hallway.

As an exchange student, I had conjured up Dillo Day as something of mythological status in my mind. Classmates described it as the epitome of fun, the culmination of three quarters worth of anticipation. My hopes were high, to say the least.

The tricky concept of hyping myself up at the crack of dawn was made more pleasant by the low-effort “Camp Dillo” theme, making for little pressure to curate suitable outfits. Cargo pants and a beige tee would suffice. My friend, who is a senior and well-versed in the Dillo lore, warned me that overexcited freshmen would wreak havoc on campus and that I should camp out (no pun intended) elsewhere.

I packed the essentials — wristband, water and deodorant — and scurried out of Bobb as fast as I could. Clothes were strewn in the hallway. Bass was shaking the floor. I held back a shudder.

Yet something I’ve wondered to myself during my time here is: Does NU actually know how to have a good time? It sure knows how to drink. I’ve seen people guzzle down more alcohol than the contents of a mixologist’s mini bar in one sitting. However, that is not the same as knowing how to have a good time.

Frat parties are great if one wants to be moisturized by the grease of other humans. House parties are dull but can be spiced up by placing bets on how soon midterms will be mentioned in conversation. After turning 21 in December, I found some respite in Chicago’s nightlife, but I had all but given up on the happenings on campus.

Luckily, I had a fine-tuned Dillo Day plan to follow. My friends and I decided to start with comfort: a slow breakfast at Bagel Art Cafe to pad the potential horrors of the day to follow.

Stomachs full, we braved the sequence of thumping darties near campus. People held their friends’ bodies up as they gulped down beer from faucets connected to muddied tubs. I shall never understand the appeal of the infamous kegstand, but to each their own.

The sun was hot and high, and soon heads began pounding. At noon, we made our way through the throngs of theme-adorned students: boy scouts, girl scouts, generic campers and — on occasion — bears.

We decided to bless Camp Dillo — Mayfest’s setup of food trucks, stages and stalls along the Lakefill — with our presence. Despite my confiscated water bottle, I felt a giddy euphoria as we walked into the festival in full swing. I was very impressed by the fact that Dillo Day is entirely student-run. It was grand.

Everywhere, people were sunbathing, posing in photo booths, knocking back free lemonades or hastily jogging to join the crowds of people swaying in front of the stages. We joined a smaller crowd at the For Members Only stage, where I was instantly dazzled by Adanna Duru’s velvety songs. At the mainstage, Amaarae performed an electric, fast-paced set, after which Bakar slowed the tempo of the evening back down with sweetly sung songs about London and getting love back.

Finally, an enthusiastic Swae Lee galloped onto the stage after a short delay. He performed a series of his biggest hits, speeding quickly through “Sunflower” with Post Malone, of which he must be sick by now, and concluding the evening with an amusing but heartfelt message; “Swae Lee is proud of you.” As he bounced off the stage, frat guys stood looking lost; Oh, what to do with the unused energy of sixteen tequila shots? Not long after, shouts about afterparties started up, and my friends and I trudged home.

Dillo Day did what I thought it would: It entertained and exhausted us, the former more than the latter. Our plan worked seamlessly, and we harvested maximum enjoyment without burning out. As for NU’s ability to have a good time, my opinion is up by a notch.

Devaki Jayal is an exchange student from University College London. She can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.

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