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‘A Quick Scroll’: Datamatch Results Bring Free Food and Friendship

Harvard students participated in Datamatch last week, a program that matches undergraduate students to go on free dates at local establishments.
Harvard students participated in Datamatch last week, a program that matches undergraduate students to go on free dates at local establishments. By Jade Xiao
By Natalie K Bandura and Azusa M. Lippit, Crimson Staff Writers

The morning of Valentine’s Day, 4,120 Harvard students woke up to a list of up to ten compatible profiles on Datamatch.

In the following week, students who “matched” with their results could choose to go on free dates at establishments like Playa Bowls, Ben and Jerry’s, and even a Harvard pickleball club practice session.

Hanna E. Wosenu ’26 said she used the site’s new “search match” feature, in which users can manually enter names of potential matches following the release of results. If the searches are reciprocated, a new match is formed.

“I used the search match feature after getting my matches back — I wasn’t unhappy with them, but I also wanted to grab food with some people that I knew, or wanted to get to know,” Wosenu said, adding that she and her friends enjoyed chatting on the app through its predetermined prompts. Wosenu and her friend ultimately went to Joe’s Pizza in Harvard Square on a free Datamatch date.

Josue D. Ramirez ’26 said he did fill out the survey and receive results, but did not pursue a free date.

“I think it’s a cool concept of people being able to get free food with people they might not know, but personally I just don’t have time for that right now,” Ramirez said.

Kiran Ahmad ’25 selected only the “friendship” option on Datamatch this year, and said she was surprised to see ten male results though she had not specified a gender preference.

“I think it’s pretty accurate in terms of putting people together, because everyone that I got matched with — I only ended up becoming matched with one person because I already knew everyone else — I was either friends with them, or friends of friends with them,” Ahmad added.

Tyler J. Shelton ’26 said he felt he had a “standard Harvard” Datamatch experience.

“You wake up the day of, you do a quick scroll through to see if you recognize anybody, and if you don’t, then you just kind of move on,” Shelton said.

Shelton added that he matched with one friend he already knew, and chose not to reach out to any others.

“I matched with someone from Mather, and as someone in Cabot House, my first neuron was immediately like, ‘Oh that’s an international relationship right there.’ But then I felt like that was too silly to just go out and say outright,” Shelton said.

“If you have one interaction through Datamatch, whether it comes to fruition or not, and whether it’s romantic or friendship or whatever, I think then most people think they’ve had a successful Datamatch experience or Valentine’s Day in some way, and it’s not all ice cream in the dorm, in the hallway single,” he added.

Maranatha Paul ’26-’27 said he was not surprised by a lack of follow-through with his Datamatch results.

“There are going to be some people who reach out and are not going to get anything in return, because some people aren’t treating this as a real thing,” Paul said. “I definitely will be treating this less serious now on.”

“I hope that Datamatch can become a more relevant and popular and serious app in the future, honestly, because it’s a brilliant idea,” he added.

Although not all students took their results seriously this year, some students have formed long-term relationships following previous iterations of Datamatch, according to co-president Lily Q. Liu ’25.

“This year, we got a lot of good feedback from people who liked their matches,” Liu wrote in an emailed statement. “We even learned about two couples that met through Datamatch in the past, and are getting married this summer!”

—Staff writer Natalie K Bandura can be reached at natalie.bandura@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Azusa M. Lippit can be reached at azusa.lippit@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @azusalippit or on Threads @azusalippit.

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