Glasgow Marrow’s speed-dating event moving online has not made it any less successful.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Glasgow Marrow’s “Glasgow Goes Dating” event launched as a virtual two-part special. Sunday 14 February saw a speed-dating event like never before, with students spending approximately two hours on Zoom, jumping between breakout rooms and meeting new faces for just over five minutes at a time. Two days later, a “professional matchmaking service” set up couples on a virtual date, with less time constraints and the ability to talk for as long as you wanted, whether that be 10 minutes or an hour.
The Glasgow Guardian conducted a survey collecting event feedback following “Glasgow Goes Dating”. Just under two-thirds of participants were extremely satisfied with the event, with the majority rating the matchmaking highly. One dater commented: “I met someone on my matched date in the same society as me, and we found that we had a lot in common, as well as having a laugh. It was amazing how well they matched us for a date.” 100% of respondents said they met someone at the event that they would be keen to see for a further date, and all participants agreed that they would be keen to take part in something like this again: “I think it was a really good idea and I’m glad Marrow put this together. I appreciate it’s tough moving things online and overall, I think it was really fun, and I’m glad I went!”
Zoom dating has been promoted reluctantly to the fore given the ongoing lockdown restrictions making meeting new people extremely difficult. We asked participants how authentic the Zoom dates felt, and were met with a range of generally positive responses, including “strange when sober, terrific when tipsy”, “good under the circumstances, although body language was missing” and “not as awkward as I thought it would be”.
We spoke to another dater, Clare, about her experience. She said that both her and a friend had signed up after hearing about it through seeing Marrow’s posters on campus. They attended both the speed-dating and the matchmaking event, the entry fee set at £3 each or £5 for both. Clare described meeting about twelve different people on the speed-dating event: “We started out all on the same Zoom group meeting where we were given a short talk about Anthony Nolan. We were then split up into breakout rooms, with just one other person, and the date began. At five minutes, we would get told that we had a minute left, and then we were moved back into the waiting room for a short time, before the next date. Afterwards, we could leave the names of people we would want to see again, and if they had left ours and consented to sharing details, we’d each be given the other’s number.”
The matchmaking event involved the filling in of a questionnaire at registration which was to contribute to your pairing with your date. Clare said that her date was interested in similar sports and so that provided good ground for which their conversation could progress. You had more flexibility on the second day, with the ability to leave the Zoom whenever you wanted. She felt that Zoom dating had worked well: “I felt relaxed during it. I honestly think it was done quite well: simple, but effective.”
Glasgow Marrow, recent winners of the “Register Champion of the Year Award” at the Anthony Nolan Supporters Awards, are the student-ran branch of the Anthony Nolan charity, which recruits donors onto the stem cell register to help save the lives of people suffering with cancer.
Speaking about the success of the event was Callum Johnson, Marrow’s Fundraising Coordinator: “The event has raised close to £200 which is amazing due to the current circumstances not allowing us to fundraise as we have in the past. All this money will go towards helping to find potential matches for those in need of lifesaving stem cell transplants. So not only did the event find potential romantic matches but also potential lifesaving matches! I would also encourage everybody, who hasn’t already, to consider signing up to the stem cell register.
"Last year was our first year running this event and it was in the GUU Debates Chamber with a bar and live band, so this year’s event did have a slightly different vibe with everyone sitting in their bedrooms on Zoom.
"Whilst it was difficult to gauge the atmosphere with everyone being in breakout rooms with their date, we have had some really positive feedback from people who enjoyed themselves. Also, the average date time this year was much longer than last so we must have improved on our matchmaking skills!
"Like all University charities we have had to adapt our fundraising to be online which has been quite tough; we have previously relied on events like “Glasgow Goes Dating” and our sports teams’ naked calendar for the bulk of our fundraising. However, this new format of “Glasgow Goes Dating” and the student cookbook that we compiled with recipes from lots of different societies last semester have both proved to be very successful in terms of fundraising.
"Hopefully we will be able to fundraise again on campus soon and we can’t wait to see everyone again!”
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