Dozens of students flocked to the Harvard Independent’s annual speed dating event Thursday night in search of love—or, for the first time this year, friendship.
The Valentine’s Day matchmaking affair, which took place in Boylston Hall’s Ticknor Lounge, featured traditional speed dates as well as the addition of platonic “speed friending.” The pairs of speed daters negotiated the terms of the date at the start of their three-minute conversations.
Angela Y. Song ’14, the president of the Independent, estimated that most students went on traditional speed dates, though some did choose to try speed friending. She said she was pleased by the overall turnout.
“I think a lot of people had a great time, and people were able to meet a lot of other people,” Song said.
Attendees enjoyed Finale chocolate ganache and blueberry cheesecake, as well as an unusually balanced gender ratio. According to Song, this year’s event drew more men than usual.
“Typically there’s been a much better female turnout, but this year there was a more balanced ratio,” Song said.
Advertising in advance of the event stressed inclusivity. Fliers and emails circulated over House lists stated that all identities were welcome, and the registration form asked students to list their contact information, preferred gender pronoun, and sexuality. Daters were not placed into separate groups at the event based on their answers.
The evening opened with a brief mingling session, and then funneled into three-minute speed dates. Daters were provided with conversations starters—including “Tina Fey or Amy Poehler?”—printed on slips of paper.
Students at the event had varying ideas about what the night might have in store.
Some said they came as a favor for their more enthusiastic roommates, but no one interviewed at the event admitted to being the roommate who actually wanted be there. Others said they came to find a date, while still some admitted they were there just for the Finale deserts.
Attendee Luke E. Sundquist ’14, who wore the number 10 on his chest, capitalized on the situation, joking that he came to “meet some friendly people [because] here they have to meet with me too.”