Updated April 28 at 1:00 p.m. to include video.
50 questions. 10 minutes. One match.
The Marriage Pact, a questionnaire that matches college students based on their similar interests, has made its way to Elon University’s campus. Founded at Stanford University in 2017 by alumni Liam McGregor and Sophia Sterling-Angus, the temporarily launched survey goes beyond general questions of favorite colors or weekend hobbies and asks about personal values and the characteristics students are looking for in a partner.
For senior Brynn Portlock, the lineup of the 50 questions cuts straight to the chase when it comes to finding a sense of companionship on campus.
“You skip over the small talk because the questionnaire does it for you,” Portlock said. “Dating apps are overdone, and I feel like they’re becoming boring now.”
Portlock, along with senior Kyra Letsinger, requested the launch of the Marriage Pact at Elon through the Marriage Pact service as a way to create more connections on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its five years of operation, the Marriage Pact has been implemented at other universities across the country such as Duke University, the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University. Questions in the Marriage Pact probe surveyors on contentious issues like political and religious affiliations, the sexual orientation of their future children and social activism.
Unlike other dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble or Grindr, the Marriage Pact does not allow participants to choose a person or search a name. Rather, a set algorithm analyzes answers to the complex questions and then matches students based off of those results. According to Marriage Pact’s Data Principles and Practices for Elon, the information from the survey is not seen by the Marriage Pact launch team or shared with anyone. The matching is purely executed through an algorithm, therefore no one has access to the individual answers.
“Tinder is boring,” Letsinger said. “[The Marriage Pact is] a cool way to make connections, especially in the pandemic.”
Sophomore Kathryn Broussard said she appreciates that there is no option to choose a particular match, and she hopes the algorithm will match her with someone outside of her social circle.
“I’m the kind of person who’s thinking they’re not going to match me with anyone. I really just filled this out for fun and nothing serious,” Broussard said. “Tinder hasn’t been working, so I was like, ‘Hey, I might try this.’”
Participants can engage in the Marriage Pact to land a platonic or romantic relationship, or even just for fun. One of the major questions asked is if the surveyee is single, which will determine if the person is looking for something romantic or not.
“I’m in a long-term relationship, so I’m not looking for a romantic thing,” Letsinger said. “I’m just looking for a friendship. It would be really cool to make a friend at the end of my senior year and find something that way, and someone who thinks a lot like me.”
Answering 50 questions is just part of the matching process. Applicants will receive a separate email with their match, leaving them in charge of communicating with them. Junior Weston LeCrone hopes the Marriage Pact will be successful in finding someone he is compatible with on campus.
“I’m mainly doing this for fun, but there’s that part of me that hopes that I could potentially be compatible with the person I match with,” LeCrone said.
Since the launch of Elon’s Marriage Pact on April 19, there have been over 800 applications submitted. Students will receive their matches on April 28, possibly opening doors to new friendships and relationships on campus.
“Part of me definitely wonders what’s out there just because I haven’t really explored the Elon dating scene to its fullest,” LeCrone said. “You never know who is out there or who you share similar interests with.”