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Young, wild and free: Darties at Howard University

As peak darty season approaches, from outfits to music, this guide illuminates its cultural collegiate significance. At the Mecca, the word “darty” means “day party.”

Howard students gather, dancing in unison at a darty located at Banneker Park in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 20, 2022. (Photo by Nolan Baynes II.)

Darty season commences during welcome week, pauses in the winter, and then resumes in the spring when the weather is nice and the school year is coming to an end. 

No matter the classification, mostly everyone at Howard is excited about this season. Not only because of opportunities to showcase their individual fashion senses but also because of the sense of community.

Mayah Lynch dances around a group of students at a ’90s-themed darty at Banneker Park in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 20, 2022. (Photo by Nolan Baynes II.)

Damaris Moore, a junior strategic, legal and management communications major, describes the incomparable feeling of being at a Howard darty. 

“What excites me most about darty season are the vibes,” says Moore. “It’s really unmatched what sunshine, tiny clothes, a good DJ, and red solo cups can bring out of people. It really feels like such a community, such a block party.”

When it comes to darty essentials, the must-haves span from what to wear to songs to play. 

“Ideally you want an outfit that, one, keeps you cool and, two, has either pockets or something to hold things in,” Liyala Wesonga, a sophomore advertising major, said. “Also, don’t forget your sunglasses and beaters.”

Prospective student, Jeremiah Hampton, dances amongst the crowd at a darty in August 2022. (Photo by Nolan Baynes II.)

“First Day Out” by Tee Grizzley, both versions of “Before I Let Go,” and anything by Nicki Minaj or Megan Thee Stallion are darty playlist essentials that some students say get everyone hyped.

Darties provide you with more than just a good time. The collective rush to get home and change, pre-game with friends, and make your way to Banneker Park or the Valley is evidence of a community in concert with each other. Kick off the school year right, doing the Cupid Shuffle underneath the August sun. Make a new friend as you shuffle to the left and make memories to remember as you “kick, and kick, and come on baby kick.”

A group of class of 2025 students pictured at their first darty on Aug. 21, 2021. (Photo by Nolan Baynes II.)

Copy edited by Whitney Meritus

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