The middle of February has brought seemingly never-ending cold, the start of midterms, and, of course, Datamatch. For those at the College who spent Valentine’s Day unattached, and even for some who did not, the 25-year-old algorithmic matchmaking program run by the Harvard Computer Society used students’ answers to a set of silly questions to “match” them with other participants for dates over sponsored free meals in Harvard Square. The program is a fun staple of our spring semesters, lying almost as close to students’ hearts as Primal Scream or Housing Day, especially given the potential for a free meal with a new potentially special someone. For all the matches, mismatches, and most importantly, for the free Zinneken’s waffles, we are happy to see Datamatch continue as a tradition — not only for Harvard students, but for those at other schools where the program has recently expanded.
Over the years, Datamatch has changed significantly, growing to include about two-thirds of students at the College, and more than a dozen colleges and universities across the country this year. We appreciate the effort and initiative that the team of students and coders at HCS have taken to spread joy to our busy campus, and are heartened by Datamatch’s success in Cambridge and California, even if not all can enjoy the benefits of free food yet. We also commend HCS for ensuring the program runs smoothly for all involved, even despite occasional hiccups like its servers crashing Thursday morning after results came out, due to overwhelming demand.
We especially love the way in which Datamatch works to build a tighter-knit campus. The matches, which connect students across Houses and years, encourage students to meet others whom they might not have met before. Whether one comes in looking for a ‘bestie’ or ‘true love,’ as the survey puts it, Datamatch encourages new connections for everyone, no matter what happens after one walks out of Zinneken's. We also appreciate the Harvard Square establishments that have partnered with HCS to ensure the program runs smoothly, and for keeping their doors open for these coveted dates. Given the overwhelming popularity of some of these locations, we would love to see the number of meal spots for oversubscribed restaurants expand in future years, given how limited they can be.
We also applaud HCS’s continued efforts toward fostering inclusivity, such adding a non-binary gender option in the survey — a move we encouraged two years ago. Changes like this one demonstrate a clear commitment on the part of Harvard students to make our school’s traditions more accessible to a broader array of students.
Though we would love to see some features from previous years brought back, such as social media connectivity and Spotify sharing to ensure we don’t run out of conversation fodder during our dates, we look forward to the tradition of Datamatch continuing for years to come — one full of laughs, awkward matches, and lots of waffles.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.