Shirttails has been a Hendrix tradition since 1913. It has evolved over the years, and today it is a fun and friendly dance competition that takes place between first-year students living in the residence halls.
Shirttails is an event for any interested new Hendrix students. The purpose of the event is to promote unity, fellowship, and school spirit among new students and current residents of all campus halls. All participants will follow a Shirttails-specific behavior contract endorsed by Student Senate and the faculty and, as always, are expected to follow the Code of Conduct as set forth in the Student Handbook.
The Student Senate encourages responsible leadership to take place in the residence halls. Senators, Hall Council members, hall residents, and all other students should take the initiative in setting a positive atmosphere for the event. The focus is for the new students to have fun and build a cohesive Hendrix community.
On November 7, 1913, the Hendrix football team (known as the Bulldogs at the time) beat Ole Miss 8-6. A spontaneous celebration erupted as over 200 male students paraded in their pajamas through downtown Conway. Community members crowded the streets to watch as the group traveled to what is now Central Baptist College and UCA, seeking praise from administrators and professors at the schools. By the 1920's, the parade had been reenacted a few times and morphed into a "Pajama Parade" where male students travelled to the all-female Central College to serenade their lady friends. The serenades stayed on campus after Galloway Hall, the first woman's dorm at Hendrix, was constructed in the 1930's. Over the years, the tradition grew, and a fierce competition developed as more men's dorms were built by the mid-1950s. With men bringing props, instruments, and dance moves to enhance their elaborate serenading routines, the ladies felt they should return the favor. Thus, in 1984 the female version of Shirttails was born: Long Shirts/Short Shorts. For the next two decades, the tradition continued to evolve, little by little, until it took the shape of the dance competition we celebrate today. While the dancing has become the focus of our modern-day festivities, the Wednesday night Serenades are a nod to Shirttails' earliest beginnings. Over these last 100 years, the events of Shirttails have slowly changed but the uniform of boxers and button-downs and the spirit of camaraderie remains the same.
Shirttails is all about having fun and building community. Participation in Shirttails is optional and up to the discretion of each individual student. Practice schedules will be given to each participant at the initial Shirttails meeting. Weekday practices will be limited to two hours an evening and will not conflict with Orientation or other Welcome Week events. As with all extra-curricular activities, class attendance and preparedness should be the highest priority. Good time management will be vital for each student choosing to participate in Shirttails.
Those that choose to perform must sign a Student Participation Contract stating that they understand their rights and the regulations established for Shirttails. Students may withdraw from Shirttails at any point.
The Shirttails Serenade Committee is committed to protecting participant rights and is responsible for making sure all students are comfortable. Each dorm will have its own committee liaison. This person is a resource for participants who is prepared to provide encouragement, answer questions, and represent student voices to choreographers.
The Shirttails Document is the Shirttails Serenade Committee's governing document.
Shirttails takes place at the conclusion of Welcome Week, which is a series of events held during the first week of classes. This year, Shirttails will be held Saturday, August 30th. A KHDX concert will follow the event.
For a complete calendar of Shirttails events, check out our Calendar of Events.
Those deemed "new" by the Office of the Registrar, to include transfer students, are eligible to participate with their respective residence halls. New students residing off campus or in the Houses may choose the hall with which why would like to participate.
The Shirttails Serenade Committee wants to ensure that all students are comfortable participating in Shirttails regardless of their background, heritage, nationality, racial/ethnic identity, sexual orientation, and gender identity/gender expression. Transgender or gender non-conforming students living in gendered residence halls (all male/all female) may have the option to perform with the residence hall of their choice. Similarly, those students living in non-gendered residence h alls may have the option to perform with the gender group of their choice for their residence hall. Requests of this sort must be made to the Shirttails Chair and approved by the Dean of Students within five days of the event.
All students wishing to participate are required to attend the Shirttails Orientation meeting and any educational experiences determined by the Offices of Student Affairs and Student Activities. Student Affairs staff will be responsible for keeping a list of students that attend the programs.
Shirttails Performance Attire
These are the minimum requirements for Shirttails attire. Other clothing items may be worn and will be left to the discretion of the new student participants of each residence hall.
- Any style of shorts, boxers, or boxer briefs (worn with full-coverage undergarments)
- White, long-sleeved Oxford button down shirt
- Closed-toe shoes
*Note: Each residence hall typically has a traditional "style" for performances, whether it be a certain color of shorts or a certain type of tie, so be prepared!