College life in a pandemic is complicated, to say the least. At a university like Boston College, which produced over 7,000 alumni couples and cultivated a waitlist for a Saint Ignatius Church wedding as long as the Million Dollar Stairs, one might wonder how they can find love during a time where their world is essentially composed of their close friends, iPhone and Zoom. When the Marriage Pact came along around Valentine’s Day, 3,708 undergraduates were intrigued by the possibility of a new relationship.
The Marriage Pact started in 2017 as a matchmaker survey that was used for an economics project at Stanford University. After being a hit on that campus, the creators decided to spread the love and slowly expand to schools across the country. This year is BC’s first year with the questionnaire that prompted students to think about their perspectives, preferences and values. Marriage Pact’s automated matchmaker sorted through similarities and differences from answers, which led to nuanced matches.
Jack Smith, MCAS ‘23, was part of the team that marketed the Marriage Pact to the BC community. He was involved in texting a tremendous amount of people, posting in Facebook groups, promoting on Instagram and distributing flyers throughout residence halls.
Smith found the Marriage Pact to be a success on campus. Submissions started coming in on the first night, and the numbers took off from there.
“I personally realized it was a success when I went to my academic advisor’s office. She had two seniors working at the front desk of her office. I walked in and they were talking about the Marriage Pact,” Smith said.
While 40% of the undergraduates took the survey, 478 women received friendship matches instead of romantic ones due to a deficit in submissions from heterosexual and bisexual men. Smith aspires to cater to the BC students more in the future to increase the overall number of submissions as well as decrease the deficit. In all, he hopes that people are happy with their matches, no matter what type it is.
“In the age of COVID right now, I know so many people are desperate to meet new people whether that’s a friendship or a relationship. I certainly hope that some people met their Marriage Pact match and now they have some sort of relationship with them,” Smith said.
Sidd Bharadwaj, CSOM ‘24, was matched with someone he had never met before. He found her on Instagram, messaged her, and eventually met her for lunch on campus. Throughout their conversations, they learned more about each other and Bharadwaj enjoyed how fun it was to meet someone new.
“One thing I found interesting was that even though this wasn’t a question, it was surprising that the person I matched with is also a vegetarian. That’s purely out of luck, but I thought it was cool,” Bharadwaj said.
Beste Engin, MCAS ‘22, is one of the 478 women who came out with a friendship match. Even though she expected to have a romantic match, she appreciated seeing who she would be compatible with for a friendship. Looking back on the experience, Engin unexpectedly learned more about herself than she thought she would.
“The quiz was actually really interesting to take. I saw what I find more important, or not, in a relationship. It was very reflective,” Engin said.
One may dream of having the perfect BC wedding with fellow friends that they met on the Heights as bridesmaids and groomsmen. Engin believes that the Marriage Pact can get people closer to that goal, but it is not a fairy godparent who can wave their wand and magically make it happen.
“I think marriages definitely can come out of things like this. You can take the Marriage Pact and get matched with someone, but then it’s your turn to pursue that and see if it goes anywhere. It’s a starter, but it’s still up to you,” she said.