FriendFinder3000 set up to help students make connections despite social distancing

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Photo by Elsa Feltl

As Covid-19 precautions this semester have led to social distancing, masking and for some, taking a full load of online classes, many UD students are feeling the effects within their social lives, given the fewer chances for in-person interactions. 

With this in mind, the Campus Activities Board (CAB), launched the FriendFinder3000, a Google form that students could fill out to be matched with other students or groups of students based on their answers. Students will have the ability to get to know each other through scheduled Google Hangouts.

Julianne Wheeler, the CAB community intern, who created the friend finder with help from her supervisor, Moey Brown, said that the inspiration behind creating it was “to provide a way for students to make connections with other students that might be having a hard time finding community, particularly with the nature of learning this year.”

The form included questions covering favorite hobbies, snacks, music and favorite author from the core. The form also gave students the ability to mention their religious affiliations and their personality type as indicated in tests such as the Myers Briggs or the Enneagram test.

Wheeler explained that the results of each student will then be hand matched for compatibility with the results of other students. 

Since we will be doing the matching, Moey and I will be seeing the answers, but they are not going to be shared with any other people on campus,” Wheeler said.

One student who is excited about the new program is Natalie Williams, a junior art history major, who has gone online for the semester. This change has led her to missing out on many of the usual social interactions on campus, such as eating lunch or meeting up at the Cap Bar with friends, which she is used to. 

At the close of the sign-up period on Sept. 1, 51 students had filled out a form. Although information about the FriendFinder3000 was taped up around campus, online students missed out on receiving the same level of exposure to the announcements. Information was announced on the CAB instagram page and mentioned in the weekly “What’s Coming Up Next Week” emails from Moey Brown. 

Williams said, “I wished it had been more publicized, because I thought it was a really great idea.” After finding out about it, Williams spread information on her own Instagram story, as well as the UD Facebook groups she is part of.

While Williams mentioned that she imagines meeting people through the FriendFinder3000 will involve some artificial aspects and could feel forced, she also pointed out the similar issues faced on campus.”We’re all thrown together in classes and in dorm rooms anyway, and while we do have the freedom to kind of go about and choose who we want as our friends, we still have limited options.”

The results of the FriendFinder3000’s matches will be made and sent to the students over the next week. The matched students will then have once a week meetings over the next four weeks. 

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