One of USD’s oldest traditions had Aalfs auditorium buzzing with students last weekend. The 96th annual Strollers show featured highlights from all the houses of USD’s Greek Life and the Strollers themselves.
Every year, each sorority on campus pairs up with two fraternities to put together a skit for Strollers. To prepare for the skit, the casts keep the idea of humor in mind as they create a theme, plot-line, dances and chants.
This year, Katie Kunkel, a senior health administration major, was one of the masters of ceremonies for Strollers.
Kunkel said this was her fourth year being involved in Strollers and she always looks forward to it.
“I was encouraged by many of my friends to join this organization because they thought I’d make a great Stroller, and I’m so glad that I did,” Kunkel said. “It turns out that being a Stroller is a tradition in my family as well. My dad, uncle and aunt were all Strollers here at USD in the ’80s. It’s incredible to have that connection with them and carry on the tradition.”
The winning Strollers skit was performed by Alpha Xi Delta, Lambda Chi Alpha and Delta Tau Delta. This team had the audience hooked with their Game of Thrones-themed skit, where the three Greek houses fought over the last barrel of beer in the kingdom and ended up working together in the end.
Kiara Harkema, a junior elementary education major and one of the Strollers directors for Alpha Xi Delta, has been a part of Strollers for the last three years. Harkema said they started working on their skit in early January.
“I have always been passionate about Strollers and put everything I have into the show,” Harkema said. “It has been an amazing experience filled with laughter, passion and hard work that truly did pay off. I can’t thank our cast enough for making it all happen.”
Harkema also said all the long hours of hard work were worth it when Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Tau Delta and Lambda Chi Alpha took home first place, as well as the best backdrop award.
“My first reaction when I found out we won both awards was pride,” Harkema said. “I was and am so unbelievably proud of each individual cast member and all the time and effort they put into the show. Our cast this year really embodied the definition of the word team and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to celebrate with.”
Julia Hakes, a sophomore history education major and a member of Alpha Xi Delta, was a Stroller for the first time this year and said she enjoyed being a part of it.
“I love watching the shows,” Hakes said. “The casts put so much time and work into crafting their shows to make people who don’t normally act, act, and people who don’t normally dance, dance. I might be a little biased saying this but I think Alpha Xi Delta, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Delta Tau Delta’s show was the best this year.”
Hakes also said Strollers is a long-standing USD tradition that people should go to or be involved in at some point.
“I think people should go to Strollers because each show is usually centered around Vermillion, so it’s all really relatable content to all of those who attend USD,” Hakes said. “I think people should be a part of the Strollers because it’s such a great way to be better friends with people and get involved on campus.”
In addition to carrying on the tradition, this year’s Strollers show was dedicated to Cat Carman, a former Stroller and member of Pi Beta Phi who passed away in a car accident a week after last year’s Strollers show.
Kunkel said the Strollers cast and crew were thinking of Carman as they put together this year’s show.
“We missed her deeply this year, as she is a part of our Strollers family,” Kunkel said. “We tried our best to pay tribute to her during the show and allow her legacy to live on.”
The proceeds from the Strollers ticket sales are donated to a different charity each year, one of the organization’s choosing. In the past, the money raised has gone to Dakotathon and the Live Like Cat organization.
Kunkel said Strollers is one of USD’s traditions that will remain intact for many years to come.
“Although the Strollers show and organization may be controversial, people may not recognize that it does a lot of good for the USD community,” Kunkel said. “The show is an opportunity for Strollers and USD alumni to return to campus and remain connected, in addition to promoting and creating a strong sense of Greek unity by developing lifelong friendships.”