Teams of Harvard students have triumphed in the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical competition 12 times in the last 14 years, but when it comes to leading a healthy social life, Harvard students may have to bow to their peers at other schools.
A Crimson Poll conducted in January found that close to 40 percent of Harvard students have never dated someone for more than one week. Even some members of the faculty are concerned.
"You guys are extremely bright. That is often, right into adolescence and even adulthood, related to social retardation," said Secretary of the Faculty John B. Fox '59 in an interview with The Crimson earlier this year.
Harvard is not a school known for its social events and parties--which are often forced to end at the early hour of 1 a.m., when parties at other schools are reportedly just getting started.
"I think that the student body is a little too driven and doesn't take enough time to enjoy the finer points in life," says William A. Sokol '00.
A year that has seen the hopes for a campus student center dashed and several final clubs close to guests would seem to promise a bleak social scene. But due to student innovation, and in some cases predilection for facts and figures, social opportunities at Harvard this year have expanded into new arenas.
"Someone likes you!" begins a missive now familiar on the FAS network.
Before Datesite.com, the only way that love-struck Harvard students could find out if their love had a mutual attraction was to ask--and risk humiliation and rejection.
Datesite circumvents those awkward moments. Users go to www.datesite.com, and type in the names and e-mail addresses of up to seven crushes. Datesite then sends those seven people an anonymous e-mail urging them to register the names of the people who they like. If two people match up, Datesite notifies the lucky couple. If they don't, no one is the wiser.
"It's good because you can find out if someone likes you without fear of being rejected or ruining a friendship," says Datesite co-creator Edward S. Baker '01.
The affably named "Datesite Docs," Baker, Arthur E. Koski-Karell '01, Jacob E. Fleming '01, and Joshua J. Wilske '01, are Winthrop House roommates who now spend much of their time maintaining and expanding Datesite. The Docs say they came up with their idea in early November.
"We were all sitting around having dinner, trying to think of a Web page to make, and we thought this would be kind of fun," Baker says.
Datesite mania spread around Harvard soon after the site was launched in time for Valentine's Day. Twelve hundred Harvard students--almost a quarter of the College--registered to use Datesite during its first two weeks of operation, and the site quickly produced 175 matches. Baker also said that his site has seen "significant growth" among MIT students.
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