Teresa Taylor—Staff Writer
A good Dordt University student knows the motto: “Don’t date before Tri-State.” Well, Tri-State (better known as Heartland Break) has come and gone. Now, it’s open season. As a means to kick off the now-permissible premarital eye contact and hand holding, Isaac Rohne, a senior business major and president of FLAME, arranged and hosted a speed dating event the Monday following Tri-State. The idea for the get-to-know-you event struck Rohne while watching a speed dating show on “some restaurant television.”
“That is the most Dordt activity I’ve ever heard in my life,” Rohne said about the dating show. “We should do one.”
On Oct. 11 at 8:30 p.m., roughly 50 students met in the lobby of Kuyper Apartments to give speed dating the ole’ college try. Here, participants were paired at random for ten, five-minute rounds, with Rohne providing a topic for conversation. Some pairings used the prompts, while others moved in favor of more interesting conversation.
After five minutes, participants rated their partner based on the enjoyability of their chat. Rohne tallied the final scores and, at 12:36 a.m., emailed all participants with the results. Though the results came by “ridiculously narrow margins,” sophomore Sloane Zeller and freshman Joshua Baugher were named “most dateable.” While the event did market itself as a competition, neither was trying to win.
“I just went knowing that I would meet people and have fun with it,” Zeller said.
That night, the lobby filled with chattering, laughter, and chaos. In between rounds, participants searched for their partners by shouting their names into the frenzy.
“I love chaos,” Rohne said. “It gives me so much energy,”
Overall, the general populous of students claimed the event gave them an opportunity to get past the initial awkwardness of meeting someone new.
“The only problem was I met two potential wives,” one participant said.
The event’s location in Kuyper also served to familiarize underclassmen with the area.
“My freshman year, no one ever went in here because it was the quiet upperclassmen study space,” Rohne said.
The space has been a popular one for FLAME events, but pandemic regulations limited the lobby’s versatility last year. Kelsey Bartels, a senior majoring in business administration, said speed dating provided a community building opportunity and brought the lobby back to its original, busy form. From FLAME’s perspective, the mor comfortable students are in Kuyper Apartments, the more revenue its 55th, its coffee shop, generates.
So, enjoy your coffee and happy cuffing season.