Like some prophet of Holy Writ, Seth A. Riddley ’12 woke from his sleep early a few nights ago with a vision. It was not of angels climbing up and down ladders, or of cattle rising from the River Nile. It was something rather more modest, but equally inspired—the thought of Harvard students, strangers to each other but eager to meet new people, having lunch together. At 1 a.m. that night, after researching some website mechanics, Riddley created harvardlunch.com.
On the website, Harvard students who wish to make a new friend, or at least an interesting one-off lunch partner, may provide their name, house, and Harvard e-mail address. They will then be randomly paired with another user of the site, and the twain will receive each other’s names by email. The hope is that they will then arrange a lunch-date (“not romantic,” clarifies Riddley) with each other at a House dining hall.
The inspiration for Riddley came from the unfortunate fact that many students become so entrenched in their social groups by sophomore year—student organizations, or teams, or blocking groups—that they sometimes close themselves off from the opportunity to meet new people. A darn shame, says Riddley, as there are “so many awesome people at the College.” He does not fancy himself a nouveau Zuckerberg, and admits readily that his programming skills are scant. He invented HarvardLunch merely because he thinks it “would be cool to see who you might meet”.
Evidently, many others think so, too. Within hours of Riddley sending word of the website to his native Mather, it had quickly spread throughout the College, and over 50 students had submitted their names and received a name in return. Two of those randomly paired did happen to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but all was sorted quickly, and both received new lunch-buddies.
Our friends are nice. But ever wonder who else might be lurking out there, just as nice as they, and just as suitable a meal companion? Let us learn their names and their stories, over a cup of tomato-ravioli soup and a ranger cookie or five!