Frankie Mancini / Gavel Media

Is Datamatch BC's New Cupid?

The average person will have met their soulmate by age 21. That's the word on the street at least. If this fact seems alarming, you have two options. One: take it with a grain of salt. Two: get out there to find that soulmate before the clock strikes midnight on your 21st birthday.

I know there are many students on Boston College's campus–dare I say, myself included?–who are in the latter group. They keep their eyes open at parties for that hot guy or gal who may be the one for life, or at least, the one for the night. They swipe tirelessly on Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge, often to no avail. Although there is the occasional Titanic-scale love story that emerges, it usually becomes exhausting to be constantly on the prowl for that special someone.

On the bright side, many experts argue that people typically find love the just as they stop looking for it. So if you're tired of putting in endless effort with no rewards, you may just be in luck.

Datamatch is coming to BC.

Datamatch—“matchmaking excellence since 1996”— is a free service created by the Harvard Computer Society in 1994 to help college students find true love. Although originally intended for Harvard students only, the program has recently expanded to over twelve schools, including BC.

To find these perfect matches, the group utilizes a “top secret algorithm” rooted in strong data analysis. And for those skeptical of the results produced from the algorithm, the organizers admit, “Well, it’s still up to you whether to believe us or not.” After all, there is always a little bit of mystery and magic when it comes to love…

The Gavel spoke with one of the program’s student leaders, Harvard senior Russell Pekala, about the service and its expansion to Boston College.

We think what we have created with Datamatch is a fun way for the entire student body at a school to participate in a lighthearted low-pressure event that encourages people to get out of their comfort zone in a healthy way," Pekala said. "We find that even people that don’t find any meaningful relationships from the process appreciate getting the chance to meet up with someone else in their school community whom they probably would never have crossed paths with otherwise.”

As we all know, it's impossible to meet everyone on BC’s campus. Who knows? The love of your life could be sitting two tables behind you at lunch and you’d never even know it. Maybe the next time you’re nearly fighting to the death to find a godforsaken table at The Rat at noon on a Tuesday, introduce yourself to your worthy opponents.

That was a joke. Don’t show mercy. You don’t want to end up with a round table.

When the survey is released on Feb. 7 (check out the countdown on the program’s website), simply sign up with your BC email, fill out some basic information about yourself including whether you want your matches to be platonic and/or romantic, and fill out the survey.

Each participating college has its own unique survey tailored to its student body. At Boston College, students will be taking a survey carefully crafted by the editors and writers of the satirical publication, The New England Classic (NEC).

“We tried to have our questions strike a good balance of BC in-jokes, jokes about going into Boston and going on dates...and a few really silly ones," Josh Artman, editor-in-chief of the NEC, said.

Datamatch offers free reign to the survey writers, “only censoring questions that might be offensive, violent, distasteful, disrespectful, etc.” Expect around 20 questions, each with 5 answer options. But don’t expect a scantron to accompany these multiple-choice questions. Expect love.

From a survey two months after Datamatch 2017, Pekala reveals, “[Students] told us about 12 different couples they knew that met on Datamatch and at least as many lasting friendships that started from it. One person emailed us last year to tell us their parents met on Datamatch, but we think this was likely a lie as the survey has been around only 24 years.”

He jokes, “That said, we’re all about doing whatever we can to make double-legacy children a thing.”

In a venture brand-new to Datamatch, Boston College students who fill out the survey will also have the opportunity to be matched with students from Wellesley and MIT in addition to their fellow Eagles.

If you are looking to meet other students—both from Boston College and colleges in the Boston area, consider taking the survey and allowing the Datamatch cupids to help guide you to your next partner or even best friend. Or maybe you’ll have an awkward White Mountain date with someone you’ll never speak to again.

Either way, the possibilities are endless. May the algorithm be ever in your favor.

Check out the FAQ on Datamatch’s website and the NEC's Facebook event for more information. The survey will be released at midnight on Thursday, Feb. 7. 

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