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A Guide To Domer Fest

Aaah sweet sweet domer fest. The epitome of freshman year awkwardness. The start of many exciting college party weekends to come. For those of you unaware of the mosh pit of awkwardness that is Domer fest, here’s the deal, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross freshmen all move in the same weekend so amidst the orientation activities they have a big event for all of the incoming freshmen.

If you are an incoming freshman at said schools, you might be thinking ‘What does one wear to Domer Fest?’ Well, lucky for you you don’t have to figure out an outfit. Everyone is given a super stylish t-shirt to wear. Saint Mary’s girls all wear the shirt they get at orientation and Notre Dame students get the same kind of shirt for the dorms that they live in.  And trust me, everyone actually does wear the shirts.  Other than that people pretty much just wear jean or white shorts. Unless you’re a dude and you’re not in to the jort lifestyle. I also remember all of the Knott Hall boys wearing neon orange knit hats… you just never know with Domer Fest.


One thing I will tell you not to wear is your brand new lanyard. I know, I know, it’s a convenient way to keep your room key and your ID and everything else together, but seriously, you have pockets for these exact reasons. Or a purse, anything but a lanyard. Actually just stick the lanyard in your purse. You don’t even have to take everything off it, just please don’t wear it. The lanyard is a dead giveaway for being a freshman and even though everyone else at Domer Fest is also a freshman, give the lanyard a night off and just stick it in a purse.

Before Domer Fest, try and meet up with a group to go over with. This shouldn’t be hard since the Saint Mary’s girls all walk over together. At least when I went, everybody was texting anyone and everyone they’d met about their game plan so it wasn’t hard to find someone to hang out with beforehand.  Also, everyone is going to the same place and nobody knows anyone so just walk into any room and boom, friends! Trust me you do not want to enter Domer Fest without a sidekick, you’ll need somebody to bail you out of all the awkward encounters to come.

After being led over to the Stepan Center on Notre Dame’s campus in a pack of girls chanting and singing in matching shirts,  you will enter the infamous (pause for dramatic effect) Domer Fest. You will be presented with a few different options as to which route you want your night to go in.  It really becomes whatever kind of scene you want it to be. If you’re into the sweaty mosh pit life, head to the dance floor. I’m not lying about the sweaty part, you have been warned. Picture a high school dance but cooler since, you know, you’re a college kid now. If you’re not into the blasting music and fog machine, you can mingle outside, eat some food, play some sand volleyball, risk your life playing on inflatable obstacles, totally up to you.  And keep in mind, all of the freshman students attend so there’s plenty of people to strike up conversation with or fight with a giant inflatable Q-tip.

A lot of the guys will try and get as many girls’ numbers as possible. For this reason, sorry to tell you boys, but a lot of Chicago girls are probably giving you the number for a carpet retailer. Not our fault LUNA has such a catchy, memorable jingle!  Bonus points if you don’t meet a single person from Chicago, now that is a challenge. For those of you who do give out your actual number, you may have just met your future husband, or you may have just added a future “DO NOT ANSWER!” to your contact list. I still have a number in my phone that I have no idea who it is but we must have had a great time at Domer Fest because I still get texts about whatever party they’re having that weekend.  Either way, it doesn’t hurt to give LUNA a break and give out your real number, you never know, they could end up being one of your closest friends.

Awful acting, catchy phone number.  

Aside from the potential friends, you will meet a lot of people at Domer Fest that you will most likely never see again. You could meet your lifelong friends, but it’s okay if you don’t. You’ll talk to so many people anyways that you’re not even going to remember who’s who. This could be fun. Since you might never talk to this person ever again what’s the harm in telling them you’re actually an heir to some royal kingdom? I met at least 3 “football players” who I could tell you are definitely not on the team, and never were.  But hey at the time I thought I was talking to the next NFL star and they probably loved every second of it. This can be a fun game, except things get a little awkward when that random guy you told you were a backup dancer for Beyonce becomes one of your good friends and the truth comes out. Shoot. 

Whether you like it or not, Domer Fest is a thing. Yes it is awkward and yes nobody knows what they’re doing but it can also be a really fun night. If you make it a good time then you’ll have some great stories to tell for the rest of the year. If you act like you’re cooler than the whole thing than you’ll probably have an awful time. So just have fun with it. Either way you will never forget your Domer Fest experience. Trust me you’ll reminisce on Domer Fest for a long time. Keep on doing you Domer Fest, you rock. 


Photos: 1 provided by author, 2

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Therese Burke

Saint Mary's

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