“Give some, get some.”
As the slogan goes for tonight’s IvyCorp speed dating event, students can snag a sweetheart — in under five minutes — on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Guaranteed at least 11 dates for half the price of a movie ticket, Yalies can rotate dates in Silliman College dining hall for the perfect match, or, perhaps, a chance to “get some.”
What is “some?” Love? Nibbles from the chocolate fountain? A chance to give to America’s Promise Alliance, a charity foundation for youth and children? All of the above?
“It’s a fun event, people want to try it and see what it will be like,” head organizer Rosibel Hernandez ’10 explained, adding that the event is for a good cause. And while most students gather to casually meet new people, speed dating, for some singletons, may be the start of a long-lasting relationship.
Organized by IvyCorp — the charity branch of Ivy Council — the third annual installment of charity speed dating (which asks for a $5 contribution from attendees) will begin tonight after date seekers have a chance to mingle and enjoy a host of cream puffs, strawberries, water cookies and marshmallows.
“At first it kind of resembles a middle school dance, with guys and girls congregated together,” said Jocelyn Traina ’10, a speed dater at last year’s event. “The expectations are tangible.”
After steeling their nerves with some sweets, students will settle around a long table running through the dining hall, with two separate tables for students interested in the same sex.
Once an IvyCorp member announces “Ready, set, go,” participants will chat up 11 Yalies for four to five minutes each. Cards with icebreaker questions are available for students who may perspire at the thought of engaging with a stranger, Traina said. Typical questions concerning hobbies, favorite songs and “the craziest thing you have done,” she said, might allay the initial awkwardness.
“It’s going to be a really fun thing even if you’re not looking for a relationship,” said another one of the organizers, Rustin Fakheri ’12, an IvyCorp member and staff reporter for the News.
Still, at the end of the rotation, students will be instructed to fill out a sheet with their favorite “dates,” and IvyCorp organizers will look for matches among the results before sending out e-mail messages to notify prospective suitors, said Jon Terenzetti ’10, last year’s organizer and the Ivy Council head delegate.
Receiving a match, of course, is no guarantee, he added.
Although the concept of speed dating may imply a hasty readiness to ditch singledom, many students planning to attend the event said they are not expecting to meet their soulmate in the four-minute time segments. For most, it seems, speed dating is simply fun.
“I think it could be fun to meet different people,” said Elizabeth Cui ’12, who said she would be among the crowd in the Silliman dining hall tonight. “If I do meet someone to date, that’s great.”
Terenzetti agreed, saying that students wanted to have fun with their friends, “but there’s something to hoping that a surprise could come out of it.”
And surprise is exactly what greeted Traina at the event last year. In the midst of the dating cycle, Traina said, she noticed a student who was not in her rotation group.
“I went up to him and I was like, ‘Speed date me right now,’ ” Traina recalled, laughing.
David Shackelton ’08 took up the offer and the two sat out of the next three rotations to spend more time with each other, she said. The couple went on to casually date for the rest of last semester, she said.
“People used to always make fun of us for meeting at speed dating,” Traina said.
Among couples who have developed relationships from last year’s rotation are Max Goldman ‘10 and Jessica Hunter ‘10, who celebrated their one-year anniversary yesterday. Having briefly met before last year’s speed dating event, Goldman said, he and Hunter went out for coffee after speed-dating and then receiving an e-mail message confirming they had been matched.
Despite the fact that several other Valentine’s Day festivities will be going on tonight, Fakheri said, the group is optimistic about the event turnout. As of Thursday night, there were only 58 — an eighth of last year’s crowd — confirmed invites to the event’s Facebook group. But a smaller number of attendees, perhaps, will allow for closer interaction.