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Students bring Stanford University Marriage Pact survey to Notre Dame

| Thursday, April 8, 2021

In the fall semester of 2017, the Marriage Pact survey took Stanford University by storm. Within a week of the survey’s release, more than half of the campus was participating. The 60-question survey, created by two Stanford undergraduates for an economics class, presents students with questions on personality traits and future goals. Then, an algorithm takes all of the responses and matches students with a fellow classmate based on compatibility. 

Following its success at Stanford, Marriage Pact made its way to other universities like Dartmouth, Duke and Princeton.

Now, the Marriage Pact has arrived at Notre Dame. The survey, which includes some additional Notre Dame-specific questions, opened last Wednesday and will be available to Notre Dame students via a link in @ndmarriagepact’s Instagram bio until Friday at midnight. 

Claire Reid | The Observer
The Notre Dame Marriage Pact team has been mainly promoting the survey on Instagram.

As of this Tuesday, over 1,000 students had taken the survey. Matches will be released via email Sunday night.

Junior Gádor Aliseda leads the team that brought Marriage Pact to Notre Dame.

“I have several friends at other schools who did it, and they told me it was super exciting and fun,” Aliseda said.

She felt Marriage Pact would be a particularly good fit for a Catholic school like Notre Dame where social phenomena like ‘Ring by Spring’ reflect the desire of many in the student body to find a long-term partner. 

“We’re very much a school where people at this young age are thinking about marriage… so I thought it’d be kind of cool to bring this here,” Aliseda said.

Because of its focus on long-term compatibility, Marriage Pact stands apart from the many other dating apps college students tend to frequent such as Tinder and Bumble.

“This goes a lot deeper,” Aliseda said. “It looks at attitudes toward family… your career ambitions and stuff like that.”

Even so, Aliseda emphasized that Marriage Pact is not just for those looking to tie the knot sometime soon. The Notre Dame Marriage Pact team’s ultimate goal is to create a fun activity to connect people on campus during COVID-19, especially freshmen and sophomores who have not been able to attend many social events during their time in college due to the pandemic.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet someone that you might not meet otherwise,” Aliseda said. “Somebody who is not in your dorm, not in your classes. Like you might have met at a social gathering if things were normal, but the probability you’d meet them now is low.”

John LeSage, a first-year, said he took the survey as an effort to put himself out there.

“I’m always a little nervous when it comes to talking to girls,” LeSage said. “So I thought it would help if someone else did the matching for me.”

LeSage, who learned of the survey after seeing it advertised on a friend’s Instagram story, said he hopes that he and his match strike up a friendship.

“Maybe it’ll even go beyond that,” he said. “We’ll see.”

LeSage’s only has one regret about his experience with the Marriage Pact survey.

“I kind of wish I had put a few more answers closer to one or the other end of the spectrum though,” he said. “That might help the algorithm with their matching process.”

Other students have had greater reservations about answering the survey questions. Some people feel intimidated by the personal nature of some of the questions, Aliseda said.

“It’s obviously tough to market something that’s so personal,” Aliseda admitted. “People are going to be kind of suspicious at first.”

Another difficulty Aliseda and her team encountered was ensuring an equal gender balance among survey participants. As of Wednesday night, female students outnumbered male students by 366.

“If way more girls than guys do it, there will be a lot of girls who won’t get matches,” Aliseda said.

To address this gender imbalance, the Notre Dame Marriage Pact team extended the time frame in which the survey is open, changing the end date from Wednesday, April 6 to Friday, April 8. Male students are encouraged to fill out the survey, even if it’s just for fun.

Despite these challenges, Aliseda and her team are encouraged by the widespread talk about Marriage Pact on campus which they observed has been largely positive.

“It’s definitely caught on,” Aliseda said. “People are excited and intrigued.”

If they deem the survey and its resulting matches to be successful, Aliseda said that the Notre Dame Marriage Pact team hopes to open it again next year when the new first-year class arrives on campus, giving those students a chance to find their perfect match as well.

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