When graduating high school and looking into colleges, prospective students have a variety of expectations surrounding their college experience. Some students look into schools based on majors and minors, the central focus of their college decision being academics. Other students look for what additional resources or support their university offers. And still others are primarily worried about the social aspect of their prospective universities. Are there clubs? Greek life? How will I make friends? Paired with the questions surrounding social life, a sub-question might be: how is the dating scene? Some students wonder if they may meet their future partner during these transformative four years.
However, in the midst of the age of technology and the ongoing popularity of dating apps, the amount of individuals meeting their partner during undergrad has shrunk from 22 percent in 1995 to just six percent as of 2017, a trend one can assume will continue. Recognizing this decrease, Liam McGregor and Sophia Sterling-Angus, from Stanford University, created a final design project centered around pairing individuals from their university based on shared interests and commonality. Thus “The Stanford Marriage pact,” was born. To engage in Marriage Pact, students had to complete a carefully cultivated questionnaire based on values and questions that may not be normally found on a dating website. The project was an instant success on Stanford’s campus, with over half of the undergraduate community choosing to partake in it. From there the project spread, eventually turning into a company that now has made over 119,450 matches and is available at over 71 schools.
Marriage Pact argues against the now more popular forms of socialization, via iPhone and social media platforms. Rather, the company is in favor of more “organic” forms of meeting others — which by their definition is the completion of a questionnaire to discover your compatibility with others on your college campus.
Marriage Pact explains their philosophy, “Take the college tradition, for example—you complete an in-depth questionnaire about your deeply-held values, and we use an algorithm to match you with your most compatible “marital backup plan” on campus. It’s struck a chord: in our first 13 months beyond Stanford’s campus, Marriage Pacts have become a tradition at 65 schools across the country. It’s a rich experience for yourself and your friends—and 3-4 percent of matches hit the lottery and go on to date for a year or longer.”
Recently, Bucknell Marriage Pact has made its appearance on the University’s campus, with 270 students choosing to partake in the matching frenzy. Following the completion of the questionnaire, an algorithm is used to help pair students with the best match. Prior to receiving their matches, students were given a sneak piece that included their match’s initials, their percentage of compatibility and some commodities they share. Some of the questions on the marriage pact surrounding the student’s political views, personal values and sexual preferences, allowed the program to really get a sense of who the participant was.
Senior Mikayla Diedrich decided to shoot her shot and complete the form, wondering if her perfect match was just around the corner, “I figured why not! Might as well give the form a go and see what happens.” She also reflected on how the experience played out for her, “I was pretty happy with it! I now have a new friendly face around campus. I don’t know if it’s necessarily my perfect match but still it’s also nice to just make a new friend. I think we are gonna try to grab lunch or coffees or something later this week”
Others had an experience of rekindling with old friends because of Marriage Pact. Ben Kittay ’22 explains, “So I actually got one of my good friends which was a surprise because I didn’t even know she had done the form. It also was funny because we had a super high percentage. Although we aren’t getting together (she has a boyfriend) we did have a good laugh about it!”
Although Bucknell Marriage Pact submission might be closed for now there will be opportunities in the future to fill out the form yourself and maybe find your perfect match. Who knows, maybe a wedding in Rooke Chapel could be in your future!