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Technology

Tough Love

Dating at university is supposed to be easy. But many of today’s U of T students find campus romance elusive. Enter Love@UofT, a new online matchmaker

If your memories of dating at U of T include scoring a night out with that handsome stranger in the Burwash lunch line, or meeting a new gal each week at Con Hall, then you’re one of the lucky few who found dating easy – or you attended university a long time ago.

Today’s students typically complain that it’s tough to meet anyone at U of T, much less date them. Perhaps it’s because so many students now commute, or are too focused on schoolwork, or are constantly plugged into their iPhones.

Love@UofT aims to help change that. The new dating site (loveatschool.com) created by computer science students Andrew Danks and Lori Lee, works just like other dating sites – you have a profile, a picture, likes and dislikes – but with one important difference: all users have registered U of T email addresses.

“Slushie” – the screen name of a third-year international student – joined Love@UofT a few months ago. She’s never e-dated before, and hasn’t had much luck meeting men in her women’s studies courses, but is looking for someone with a similar schedule and lifestyle – ideally another student, she says. Love@UofT allows her to search candidates by appearance, lifestyle, and academic specialty. Because Slushie considers herself shy, she appreciates the opportunity to interact with people outside the classroom without having to approach them in person.

Unlike in Slushie’s women’s studies courses, men outnumber women on Love@UofT; of the approximately 1,000 current users, two-thirds are male. That’s good news for women who are seeking men. “Within the first few days, I think I got 10 messages,” Slushie says.

Signing up a large number of users is crucial for any dating website, so to promote Love@UofT on campus, Lee and Danks recently hosted a speed-dating event. They are also collaborating with LGBTQ groups to attract more queer users.

While the site so far focuses on U of T students, Lee and Danks are considering expanding to include other Toronto colleges and universities – and alumni. “Anyone with a utoronto email can register,” says Lee. After all, alumni need love too.

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