Dartmouth Comedy Network brings 'Datamatch' to campus

by Eliza Gallant | 2/14/20 2:00am

2-14-20-news-datamatch-julialevine

Datamatch provides both romantic and platonic matches — in a humorous way.

by Julia Levine / The Dartmouth

Datamatch, a free matchmaking service started by Harvard University students 25 years ago, has arrived at Dartmouth. 

Datamatch is an online survey that matches participants based on answers to humorous questions. The service — brought to the College by the Dartmouth Comedy Network — will send out matches to participating students today. 

DCN member Nicholas Sugiarto ’23 said he wanted to bring Datamatch to Dartmouth because, before this year, Dartmouth was the only Ivy League school that did not participate in the program. He said he wanted to help others meet new people in a fun and casual way.

“None of this is meant to be very serious at all,” Sugiarto said. “But we are hoping that real genuine connection comes out of it. That is the true purpose of Datamatch.”

Sugiarto said he pitched the idea of bringing Datamatch to Dartmouth to DCN president Samantha Locke ’22 and vice president Josh Ocampo ’22. Although Locke said she was initially apprehensive about bringing the matchmaking service to Dartmouth, she eventually got on board.  

“I was a little nervous about the project at first just because I didn’t know what it was and compared to the other comedy groups on campus, [DCN] don’t have as much of a reputation and if this were something that was weird or not good, it would be really bad to start it,” Locke said.

Locke said she wanted to ensure that the matchmaking survey did not perpetuate any problematic elements of Dartmouth’s dating culture. 

“One thing that is really important to me with these questions is that there is a legacy — not just at this school, but in a lot of places — of dating culture being really heteronormative and misogynistic,” Locke said.

Although the algorithm was made by Harvard students, all of the questions on the survey are specific to Dartmouth. DCN wrote all of the questions, striving to create humorous questions related to Dartmouth’s campus culture, according to Sugiarto.

“We wanted a lot of Dartmouth-specific humor in our questions to help capture the culture that Dartmouth has,” Sugiarto said.

Today at 8 a.m., each person that filled out the survey will receive matches that are decided by the algorithm. Everyone will get 10 matches ­— the top three being mutual matches. 

Sugiarto said that as of Tuesday night, the survey had over 510 responses.

Locke said she believes that Datamatch will help people meet others in a meaningful way.

“On a slightly larger level, I think it could really help people form good relationships and meet people because, as much as there is a lot of overlap on this campus, especially during winter term, people are so busy that they are not going to be meeting many people,” Locke said.

Sugiarto said that he hopes Datamatch will help first-years in particular meet others.

“Everything is so fast-paced at Dartmouth and it feels like you have no time for anything,” Sugiarto said. “We hope we can help ease that burden by helping people meet others and laugh while doing it via Datamatch. Especially for first-years, it is scary meeting new people and we hope to make meeting people more fun with Datamatch.”

According to Ocampo, Datamatch is also different from other dating surveys because it has a platonic option.

“This option makes Datamatch more inclusive towards everyone because even if you are in a relationship, you can still use Datamatch to meet new friends,” Ocampo said.

In addition to writing all of the survey’s questions, DCN also arranged a deal with Morano Gelato in which the first 25 couples who visit on the establishment on a date because of Datamatch will receive 15 percent off of their gelato, according to Sugiarto. However, Sugiarto said that DCN is looking toward the future with Datamatch as well.

“We are looking to expand and get more of the Dartmouth students to participate,” Sugiarto said. “Right now, about 10 percent of Dartmouth students are participating, and we hope to get to around 15 percent by the end of this year. We are planning more events, like possibly a Datamatch prom.”