With the launch of a new website, Yalies will never have to eat alone again.
Through YaleLunch.com, students can schedule lunch with a person they have never met, or a student organization of which they are not a member. Harvard junior Seth Riddley, who created HarvardLunch this November, created the Yale offshoot one month later. Extroverted Elis can visit YaleLunch.com and enter their Yale.edu e-mail addresses, and receive a message from the website with another student’s contact information and a suggested time to dine.
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Both the Harvard and Yale sites are branches of Riddley’s LunchEdu.com, which directs students to their school’s individual site, and urges those at other universities to petition for their own LunchEdu service by e-mailing Riddley.
“Students at Yale and Penn came to me, asking for versions at their schools,” Riddley said in a Sunday interview. “I’m not actively trying to expand the site to other schools, though I think it would be a cool thing for any college to have.”
Riddley said he woke up in the middle of the night with the idea for HarvardLunch in November. After a few hours of writing code, he e-mailed several Harvard mailing lists asking people to join, and by the next day over 75 users had signed up. Today, HarvardLunch has over 700 users.
“It’s like a social experiment,” said Mary Liu ’12, YaleLunch’s manager. “See if you can randomly sample a Yalie, and he or she will be awesome for you to hang out with.”
Shortly after creating YaleLunch, Riddley handed control of the website off to Liu, who had contacted him along with several other students asking him to make a Yale version of his Harvard service. YaleLunch.com began matching people in early December, and now the website has over 400 users.
Liu said she thinks her biggest contribution has been the addition of group meetings: Students can now sign up to meet with a representative from an organization of their choice. The feature launched Feb. 11, and is only available at Yale. The list of participating organizations now includes 21 groups, ranging from the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity to the Ballroom Dance Team and the Yale College Democrats.
“YaleLunch was a great way to reach students outside of the activities bazaars,” said Lisa Andrekovich ’12, who registered the Yale Business Society for YaleLunch. “It allows students to talk with us in an informal setting, while still learning more about our organization.”
Students should not see the website as a social crutch, but rather a chance to try something new, Liu said.
“People’s main obstacle [to using YaleLunch], is saying, ‘Why do I need a tool? Are you saying I’m socially inept?’” said Liu, “but in reality it’s just something fun; it’s an additional option.”
Riddley will launch PennLunch in the next few weeks.