UC After Dark hosts speed dating for rapid romance

FMU students gathered in the Smith University Center (UC) Commons on Feb. 9 to celebrate Valentine’s Day with food, socialization, music and giveaways at the first-ever Valentine Speed Dating Event. 

Upon walking in, guests received a ticket bearing either an even or odd number. Tables were arranged in the middle of the UC, and two people with even tickets and two with odd tickets were placed at each table. Then the speed dating commenced, rotating students through multiple tables throughout the night. CAB also held a giveaway at the end of the event for a $50 Walmart gift card.

The Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosted the event as part of their “UC After Dark” series of events and has been in the works since last semester. CAB decorated the UC with pink ribbons strewn about the venue, balloons and red tablecloths. The lights were dimmed, and romantic music played in the background as students moved from table to table. CAB also provided food, including cupcakes, cookies, and a fruit tray. Sparkling juice was available to attendees, and there was also a popcorn machine. 

“I always have fun setting up. I think the most fun part is seeing a vision and then putting it together,” said Jayla Frieson, the vice-chair of CAB and a junior theater tech-design major, “honestly, we can have a vision, and it can look completely different once we put it out on the floor.” 

Before the event, Frieson said she hoped there would be a big turnout.

“That’s always our number one,” Frieson said. I want people to have fun, meet new people, enjoy the food and just get a break from classes or work.” 

The tables were adorned with candies and a couple of cards with printed questions to help get the conversation flowing. A couple of the questions found on the card were, “Do you prefer mountains or beaches?” and “Have you ever met someone famous?” After roughly 10 minutes of talking and getting to know each other, either the evens or odds would rotate to a new table. 

“I thought it was a really interesting concept and loved getting to talk to new people,” said Gentry Durham, a freshman psychology major. “The best part for me was probably how friendly everyone was and that it gave me the opportunity to talk to people I normally wouldn’t get to.” 

Some students looked for new friends, while others looked for something more. 

“I’m here for the fun and for the food.” said sophomore computer science major, Timia Mitchell. “I want to meet new people and learn interesting things about them.” 

Despite the end product, Frieson said the planning process was not as perfect as one might think. 

“Every event that we have, there’s always going to be some bumps in the road and last-minute changes,” Frieson said. “We didn’t have enough decorations, and we’re in the middle of interviews […] we’re choosing a couple of people to put on the board, so that’s new for us. This is our first time doing interviews like this.” 

Despite these bumps, the speed-dating event had a large turnout and fostered socialization between students who had never spoken to each other before.