Campus, News

BU Marriage Pact relaunches with new algorithm

Boston University’s matchmaking service, the Marriage Pact, launched for students once again with a new algorithm.

A sign for Marriage Pact on St. Mary’s Street and Mountfort Street. The matchmaking service pairs together university students based on extensive sociological and psychological data. SARAH CRUZ/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The Marriage Pact, which originated at Stanford University, provides students with their compatible match on campus, through a questionnaire based on psychological and sociological research. 

The project originally began at BU in 2021 and after the students who helped with the launch graduated, current students at BU resumed the project and formed a team of representatives to advertise the BU Marriage Pact.

The relaunch consisted of a week-long process in which representatives for the BU Marriage Pact focused primarily on “getting the word out” using social media, group chats and posters.

Xinny Lao, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, is one of the representatives and said she thought the Marriage Pact was a good idea because of the size of BU’s population leading to a variety of results.

“I feel like it’s a really cool opportunity, especially given how big BU’s undergrad population is,” Lao said. “[It’s] much bigger than other schools that Marriage Pact has been posted in.”

The Marriage Pact has been launched in 78 schools, including other Massachusetts schools like Tufts University and Amherst College.

Karina Chen, the launch team product manager for the Marriage Pact, said that the algorithm used is “the secret sauce” for the project. 

“[The algorithm is] drawn from research from different topics [such as] psychology, economics, computer science,” Chen said. “It’s an academically backed questionnaire.”

Out of the 1,400 people completing the survey at BU, roughly 200 women were not matched romantically with the opportunity of finding a potential friend instead.

“There are possibilities of friend matches,” Lao said. “These extra people that are unmatched … would do friend matches even though it’s not your preferred sexual orientation.”

Sophia Breslau, a junior in CAS, heard about the Marriage Pact relaunch from a friend and decided to try it out.

“I just thought it was really funny, cool and exciting because to do a normal matchmaking thing, that’s scary and a lot of commitment,” Breslau said. “To be receiving something for a marriage pact … it’s just exciting.”

The Marriage Pact asks for information about the participant, such as their gender, sexuality and beliefs, as well as their preferences in a partner, such as their partner’s religion. It also asks 50 questions about a person’s principles, values and how much they agree on a scale of one to seven. Questions included inquiries such as their values when it comes to friendship. 

Breslau said she recalls one question asking her about if she would keep friends around if she thought they would be useful in the future.

“There were some questions that I had never really thought of before,” Breslau said. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to answer it in a way that really demonstrated how I actually felt.”

Breslau received her results Tuesday morning and said that her and her match had a 94% match. 

“The only way for us to connect is through email, so I wrote an email but I haven’t sent it yet because I’m not totally sure what to say in it,” Breslau said. “When was the last time anyone has sent an email to their potential marriage pact match? It’s funny.”

Breslau said that even if the match doesn’t result in an actual marriage pact with someone on campus, it’s interesting to know there’s someone on campus who’s alike to her.

“Maybe it leads somewhere, maybe it doesn’t, maybe it’s a real marriage pact, maybe it’s not,” Breslau said. “But it’s just a fun experience. I totally recommend it.”

Lao said getting the word out about the Marriage Pact was “difficult” because of how large the undergraduate population is, adding that if the Marriage Pact gets more stabilized within the BU community, it can expand to a lot more people.

“If we actually have even more than half of the BU population participate, I feel like that would lead to a lot more interesting results, just because it’s a much bigger pool,” Lao said.

Chen hopes that the Marriage Pact can launch again at BU next year.

“The Marriage Pact really strives to make marriage pacts a tradition for schools around the nation,” Chen said. “[We] definitely want to launch again next year and make it something that all the students look forward to every year.”

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