Netflix may have “Love is Blind,” but Boston University now has “Heartbeat,” the very first dating show on campus.
Organized by BU After School — a Chinese student-run organization which provides a community for Chinese international students — “Heartbeat” consists of three 15 to 20 minute long episodes.
The first episode premiered on April 4 across multiple media platforms, including WeChat, Instagram, Little Red Book — a social media and e-commerce platform in China, similar to Instagram — and video platform Bilibili.
After the first episode received 76,000 views on Bilibili, the second episode was released on April 10 and has received over 11,000 views so far.
“Heartbeat” features eight contestants who complete online interactive tasks and in-person activities simultaneously to “create a real love atmosphere,” the creators of the show said.
Michelle Shao, a junior at the College of Arts and Sciences and participant of the dating show, said she enjoyed her experience on “Heartbeat” and the formed friendships with other contestants.
“At the beginning, we didn’t really have a lot of time to get to know each other,” Shao said. “So based on all the follow-up activities that the whole group designed for us, we got a chance to talk more deeply about our interests, hobbies or why we came to BU or everything about our lives.”
Shao said she had a “romantic” moment with another contestant at Deer Island — a peninsula near Boston.
“At that time on the island, we were chatting, we were skateboarding, and then he brought a guitar,” Shao said. “From that moment, I felt a little bit of a crush.”
Victoria Han, a freshman in CAS and another participant, said she did not have enough time to develop feelings for other contestants but she made new friends anyways.
“I feel like everyone has their own style, and everyone is individual,” Han said. “Everyone has their own hobbies and their own opinions, but actually when we talk … everyone prefers to share their opinions and [everyone was] very respectful.
The BUAS event planning department spent roughly two months preparing for the show, Enni Lyu, the project mentor of “Heartbeat” and a junior in the College of Communication, said.
BUAS published the first article with an application form for “Heartbeat” on WeChat on March 6, but Lyu said the team struggled to find anyone at first.
“Actually, we had a very few applicants at the first because, you know, people prefer to be onlookers than be the participants themselves,” Lyu said.
After extensive advertising, delaying application deadlines and reaching out to friends, Lyu said the show managed to get off its feet and garner “huge” success.
Xinyi Wu, the director of “Heartbeat” and a senior in COM, said the video department brought six cameras to record the dating show, all from the members themselves.
Emphasizing this challenge, Yufeng Huang, the show’s cinematographer and graduate student in the School of Hospitality, said they had to focus on capturing the best images.
“We are not like other professional teams so we don’t have that much equipment,” Huang said.
Alisa Zhao, project leader of “Heartbeat” and a freshman in COM, described the team as “brilliant.”
“You can see we can run this whole activity so successfully,” Zhao said. “We were just so successful because of the efforts from all the crew members.”
Lyu said she felt “very proud” of herself and her teammates for their work on “Heartbeat.”
“Because although I could’ve spent the time doing other things because it’s senior year I have to do interviews and find a job,” Lyu said. “But I think this show is the best memory of my senior year, like best ever.”