Campus cupid plays matchmaker

by Valerie Silverman | 2/4/04 6:00am

In the spirit of proliferating online dating services like Match.com, two senior women have taken it upon themselves to provide students with a College dating service. These self-proclaimed matchmakers hope the aptly-dubbed Campus Cupid will alleviate "Dartmouth's dating difficulties" by opening up new options and outlets.

Campus Cupid founders Lisa Volpe '04 and Jessica Ward '04 sent out a survey to a large segment of the student body on Sunday night. The questionaire asked undergraduates to describe themselves according to a movie they have seen 1,000 times, campus activities they participate in, their favorite dining hall, a song they would request at a dance party and several other open-ended questions.

With over 100 responses within 24 hours almost evenly split among the classes and between the sexes, Volpe and Ward said they were pleasantly surprised at the campus reply.

"We were a little incredulous at first," said Ward. "We didn't think any guys would actually buy into it."

They also tried to leave the survey open to people of all sexual orientations, but have so far received only six responses from students seeking the same sex.

Despite the high volume of feedback thus far, there is a general buzz of skepticism about the service.

"The idea that answering four arcane questions will lead to finding your soulmate is absurd," said Jesse Nisselson '04. "Personally, anyone who requests songs at dance parties, watches one movie a thousand times, unless it's a porno, or has a favorite dining hall is immediately withdrawn from my prospectives pile."

Nisselson added that he still "respect[s] the bold efforts of the two women who initiated Campus Cupid."

Others doubted whether men would take the service as seriously as women or whether they would be as likely as women to participate.

"Guys have little problem with the lack of romance on this campus," said Crosby Haynes '04. "I find it highly unlikely that most of the eligible guys on this campus are going to respond to the service. It's easier for guys at Dartmouth to settle for another game of pong rather than put in the effort to set up a date."

The vast majority of responses have been open and straighforward, Ward and Volpe found.

"Some of the responses are brutally honest," said Volpe, noting that some people admit they are merely looking for a hookup, while others indicated they are seeking more commited relationships.

To bring the process to fruition, Volpe and Ward plan to synthesize the answers from the surveys and send out lists of potential matches to participants on Friday. Names will remain anonymous; participants will receive a list of potential matches that include the survey responses of those people and each participant will decide on his or her top five choices. If a match is made, Campus Cupid will reveal the names to the both parties.

Volpe and Ward hope that this first round of matches will be successful enough to justify continuing the service. Long-term plans may include a Campus Cupid website, but they are focusing more on the making it work right now and getting more people interested.

Despite the service's apparent popularity thus far, some students were hestitant about taking it too seriously.

"I think it would be funny," said Alexandria Fecych '07. "I wouldn't do it, and if I did I don't think I'd take it very seriously at all, and I can't think of anyone who would at first, anyway. But if you meet somebody new, not even necessarily someone to date seriously, that's kind of cool."

With nearly two terms under her belt, Fecych does not see any "dire need " for something like Campus Cupid now.

However, many students do see a need for some change from the typical dating scene, or at least something to ease the "dating difficulties" on campus.

Shannon McCarthy '04 said she doubts Campus Cupid will be successful, but suggested an alternate option: "My friends and I think that a D-plan wristband or anklet would be better than this."

"It's not frats that are the problem, it's the D-plan," McCarthy continued. "With the wristband [system], everyone could go out discretely wearing the wristband and then it would beep whenever a person of the opposite sex's D-plan matched yours. I think that would solve the problem."

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