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Miami Marriage Pact spreads socially distant love across campus

The Miami Marriage Pact hopes to help students find their perfect match despite the COVID-19 pandemic using a 50-question survey.

Miami mergers are a tradition Miami University frequently advertises to incoming and current students alike. According to Miami, 14% of alumni are married to another alum.

However, Miami mergers may be facing new challenges. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it has been harder to meet new people face-to-face, let alone start a relationship that could last a lifetime.

Fortunately, the Miami Marriage Pact is here to help.

The Marriage Pact is a nationwide program started at Stanford University to help students find potential partners at college. Students fill out a 10-minute questionnaire consisting of questions backed by research on dating and romantic compatibility. They then wait until the questionnaire closes and receive their match via email. 

The questionnaire covers topics from political views, to hard drug use, to whether the student is already in a relationship or not. Any student at the university is eligible to fill it out. 

Sophomore political science and strategic communication double major Nicole Sann helped bring The Marriage Pact to Miami.

“I kept seeing it at a bunch of my old high school friends’ colleges, and I was really intrigued,” Sann said. “When I realized that it wasn’t just a university-based organization and it could be at any school, I thought [The Marriage Pact] could be a fun way to make the idea of Miami Mergers a little less cringey or dorky for students.”

Sann is on a three-person team of Miami students working with advisors from The Marriage Pact and promoting the program through social media and advertising. The Instagram page features information about the program and several sexual innuendos. 

Sann, who took The Marriage Pact herself, said it was a welcomed experience  in the midst of an unprecedented school year.

“I’m very curious to see what’s going to come out of it,” Sann said. “I think The Marriage Pact has been a little of a bright light for me when it’s been crappy here, for lack of better words — it’s the idea of being able to meet new people that makes it so appealing.”

Sann was one of hundreds of people who filled out the questionnaire this April. 

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Hunter Wells, a first-year psychology and neuroscience double major, also filled it out.

After hearing about the pact and taking it himself, Wells started recommending it to his friends and others in his dorm hall.

“I’ve talked to at least 40 or so people, and I’ve tried to get all my friends to do it, too,” Wells said. “It’s really easy to bring it up in conversation since you can be like, ‘Have you seen this?’ And if they’re like, ‘No,’ you can be like, ‘Hey, let me tell you, this is really cool.’”

Wells has hopes for matching with someone, but he also said there wouldn’t be much of a downside if things didn’t work out.

“Even if I don’t find a romantic partner, I can at least make a friend out of it hopefully,” he said. I don’t see it as a losing situation — only a positive thing. Worst case scenario, some random person at Miami has my email, but they can get that anyway, so it’s no risk.”

Another person who didn’t have very high expectations for the marriage pact was a first-year finance major who preferred to remain anonymous.

“[Doing The Marriage Pact] wasn’t necessarily because I was looking to find someone,” he said. “It was more like, ‘Well hey, everyone else is doing this, so I might as well give it a shot.’ I’m not super, super excited like you would be if you were on a regular dating website, but it’s not like I’m not interested at all.”

However, he did take some issue with the fact that the Miami Marriage Pact opened in April  – part of The Marriage Pact’s efforts to stagger the programs across the nation– and was slated to close on April 26, three weeks before finals.

“I think it’s problematic that this started in April,” he said. “You have three weeks to strengthen a relationship, really two if you take finals week into account. Unless you guys just have some unfound connection, I don’t see it lasting too long over summer break.”

Fortunately, The Marriage Pact has a chance to return to Miami next year. 

“It depends on the interest in it,” Sann said. “But if it goes well this year, and if people want it to happen next year, it likely will.”