Let’s be honest, Penn State can easily be placed in the dating trend that the New York Times dubbed “the hookup culture” category.
Between fraternity parties and bars, relationships are not always blooming, but at the same time, some people want that special someone.
But where can you find a date between drinking alcohol and attending 200-people lectures?
Some have turned to speed dating.
In the late 90s, Rabbi Yaacov Deyo of Aish HaTorah Yeshiva created SpeedDating for Los Angeles Jewish singles to meet each other, according to Harper Collins Publishers. Eventually the trend spread to 25 cities internationally and to other cultures, according to Harper Collins Publishers.
Speed dating is a way to meet a wide range of people in an enclosed amount a time, Penn State Hillel Engagement Coordinator Kayla Kahn said.
Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, has been hosting an annual speed-dating event for five years, with the first one starting out small with around 20 attendees at Irving’s, Kahn said.
The event since has grown, and this year’s event served 150 people in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Heritage Hall on Tuesday night.
During the speed-dating event, the women sit on one side of the table and the men on the other. Each date has two minutes and once the bell rings the men rotate.
Each participant is given a number and a card, Kahn said. If the participant enjoyed their date, they write the other’s number on their card, Kahn said.
At the end of the event, Hillel collects all the cards and emails the participants their mutual matches, Kahn said.
Romantically decorated, the space has candles, flowers and various snacks, Kahn said. In order to ease the tension, Hillel provides funny question cards on the table, Kahn said.
Kahn does recognize that the speed dating is not serious. Kahn said once participants “get over the awkward hump” of actually getting into the room and go on the dates, the event is just fun.
College is the biggest marriage market and many people are scared their time is running out to meet someone, President of Hillel Jenna Heffler said.
Kahn said that, in this generation, it is difficult to date. Everyone at Penn State is always busy and onto the next big thing, Heffler (junior-actuarial science) said
“[There’s] not a whole lot of romance left,” Kahn said.
Today’s culture gives the impression people cannot meet sober, but the speed-dating event is a respectful environment to meet someone, Heffler said.
Carly Millan attended Hillel’s speed dating event three years ago and is currently dating a student she met at the event.
Millan (graduate-communication sciences and disorder) said she went for fun and was not expecting any results.
In her matches, Millan did receive unwanted names because certain dates asked her if she wanted their number when she did not, Millan said. But her current boyfriend and her mutually put their names on their cards and received their match email, Millan said.
After running into each other in class and playing tennis together, a relationship bloomed, Millan said.
Going to a large university gives students options, but it is hard to meet people with similar interests, Millan said. She said she wanted to meet someone in an environment where alcohol was not a factor to actually learn about the person.
Although she does get teased for meeting her boyfriend at speed dating, Millan said “[it’s] good to take risks and not be afraid.”
While attending Hillel’s latest speed dating event, Kendal Jaffe (freshman-nursing) said she went to meet new people and to do something different.
Secretary of Hillel Steven Magenheim jokingly said people attend the Hillel speed dating to “meet your Jewish soulmate.”
Magenheim (sophomore-energy, business and finance) said speed dating is a great way for everyone to “mix and mingle” and to meet people with different backgrounds.
Although never been speed dating, Jackie Settimio said she believes it would be entertaining.
Settimio (junior-art education) said she thinks speed dating would compare to an awkward elevator ride with only two people for a few floors. She said she would treat the event like a game and enjoy the experience.
Settimio said Penn State is mostly a “hook up” university, but she has seen some serious relationships. However, she added that the majority stems from high school or freshman year.
Nick Tischio has never been speed dating and said he would be wary of going. Tischio (sophomore-elementary education) said he would rather get to know someone in a “less intense environment.”
Tischio said he believes that the “hook-up culture” is more talked about because it is a more exciting topic than relationships. The topic is a controversial one because the actions are questionable, Tischio said.