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Students Explore the Square with Their Datamatches

After the release of Datamatch pairings, compatible students have scheduled their free meals at Zinnekens, El Jefe’s, Clover, and Pinkberry.

Frank J. Mendoza, manager of Pinkberry in Harvard Square, commented on the influx of visitors to the frozen yogurt joint since February is typically its slow season.

“[On Tuesday] we had about 10 couples throughout the day,” Mendoza said. “We still have customers, but more are coming in because of Datamatch.”

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He said that the store did not need to stock up on extra yogurt despite the recent demand among students.

The assistant manager of Mexican restaurant El Jefe’s, Patricia Flores, reported hosting 12 couples as of Wednesday afternoon, a number that she said is “not overwhelming.” She added that typically three or four couples come eat at the restaurant at the same time.

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“Overall, they don’t know each other,” Flores said of the Datamatch couples. “I’ve seen some couples shake hands, and say ‘oh hey, how are you?’”

Datamatch, sponsored by the Harvard Computer Society, creates compatible pairings among undergraduates through an online survey and associated algorithm, additionally offering couples the opportunity to recieve free food. This year, questions for the online survey were developed by writers from Satire V, an undergraduate humor magazine, with the input of Psychology professor Steven A Pinker. More than 3,300 students participated in the survey this year.

Sathvik R. Sudireddy ’19 said he was matched with someone he had never met before.

“She contacted me and from there it was just a natural conversation,” Sudireddy said. “We just made that arrangement and the plans, and that’s it.”

Sudireddy added he and his match have only communicated through Facebook messenger, and they will first meet at El Jefe’s on Friday.

“I think we will have a good conversation and it will be fun getting free tacos. It’s always nice meeting new people and making new friends,” he said.

Some students said their Datamatch results cataloged familiar names. Julia E. Belanoff ’18 said she was matched with another student from her freshman dorm entryway.

“I was kind of surprised, but if you’re going to eat free food you might as well do it with someone you know you like,” Belanoff said. She added that even if she had not known her match, she still would have gone on the date.

“It’s fun to have the excuse to meet someone you don’t know, and Datamatch is the funny ‘how I made new friends’ story,” she said.

Other students commented on the casual nature of their dates.

“If it was a real date, I would have worn make-up and not have been late. This was an eyeliner-less date,” Tanner E. Skenderian ’16, who went on a breakfast date at Clover, said.

Both students and restaurant-owners alike appear satisfied with the Datamatch project this year.

“It’s very cool and interactive,” Flores said. “It’s very cute and nice to see.”

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