The "Love is Blind" survey was a hit on campus, and raises important questions about social life at Furman in a pandemic.
FUSAB took on the role of campus cupid with their new "Love is Blind" survey.
If meeting new people on campus was hard before, it certainly has not been easier this semester. However, in a world where information is at our fingertips, the student body has found new ways to adapt and seek out new connections, friendships and, if they choose the right answers, love!
Last Friday, FUSAB released a match-making survey to the student body that is similar to Datamatch, a match-making system developed by Harvard University students solely for students. The “Love is Blind” survey went out on Sunday of last week, giving students the school week to anxiously await “Campus Cupid’s” call of love, friendship or a new awkward association on campus.
Some might think– ‘it’s only October, why not send the survey out on Valentine’s Day?’ It comes down to the widespread sentiment that people need people, especially on a college campus where a social life is in short supply during the pandemic. Kristin Nauman, the chair of the project, shared, “I hope that it sparks conversation among people who would not have been friends or known each otherwise.” Regardless of whether students participated to find love, friendship or ‘anything really,’ there was still an excitement about meeting new people, albeit virtually. Yes, Cupid is a fairweather friend in February, but it makes sense that we as the student body want to meet new people now, because we have not been able to this semester, at least not as much as usual.
Sam Macey (‘20) participated in the project mostly because he was asked to. “I decided why not? It’s coronavirus, and one of the things I have missed about Furman is meeting new people because everyone knows someone I know.” When talking about the competence of the algorithm’s match-making ability, Macey shared that he matched with one of his best friends. He said, “It made me think, dang, maybe this Love is Blind thing has some truth to it.” Asides from that, he has not reached out to any of his other matches.
Nath Kapoor (‘23) was excited about the idea of being matched with people he does not know, but he has not reached out to anyone he was matched with either. He reflected on a time pre-pandemic, when forming new relationships had a freedom that came from the opportunity of meeting people spontaneously. Kapoor expanded on the fact that now we have to depend on events like Love is Blind to socialize with new people. He explained, “The fear, in my mind, is what if people get attached to non-physical intimacy [through virtual mixers] and then depend on that once we return to life without CDC restrictions?” Though Kapoor has apprehensions about the social consequences that might result from this virtual shift, he considers the survey to be a positive source of connection. He articulated, “everybody who participated was hoping a certain person would be on their list, and that they would be on that person’s list, too.” So, perhaps the excitement and vulnerability that comes with meeting new people is not diminished, but rather manifested in a different form now.
If anything, reviews of FUSAB’s Love is Blind indicate that there seems to be hesitance for Furman students to reach out to new people on campus. “You cannot expect the results to form a relationship right away,” said Macey. Perhaps in the future, Love is Blind could host a follow-up event where participants attend a function with their top matches (either post-COVID, or with necessary safety precautions taken). Or, maybe, we as students should just be more vulnerable and reach out to our top matches, whether it be for a date or friendly hangout. Perhaps, then, the ultimate question from the Love is Blind survey is not whether you prefer Bald Rock or the PAC, but rather, is love really blind? Are we as a student body willing to take the risk of reaching out to meet new people we know nothing about? And if you, reader, took the survey and Campus Cupid came knocking in the format of top matched results, would you answer?