Arts and Entertainment | Style

GoodCrush gives CU dating scene a digital kick in the butt

Still without someone to share a box of overpriced chocolate with on Valentine’s Day? GoodCrush, a college matchmaking website, is coming to the average Columbian’s rescue.

Just in time for Valentine’s, Jonah Liben, GS/JTS ’11, launched the Columbia chapter of GoodCrush on Sunday. Liben said, “It’s a cute throwback to middle school pre-Valentine’s Day romance, reappearing in the form of a social-networking site.” Not his “normal extracurricular activity,” Liben got involved through a brother at the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi who went to high school with the site’s founder, Josh Weinstein, Princeton ’09.

The Columbia/Barnard GoodCrush extension—at http://columbia.goodcrush.com—directs the user to a page of utopian blue that features an adolescent cartoon guy and girl in front of a red country schoolhouse.

The process is simple: Students enter their names, UNIs, and the UNIs of up to five crushes, and an anonymous connection is instantly made with an email to the crushes’ CubMail accounts. Whether it turns into a love connection is up to the crush. The hope is that each person who is “crushed on” will then sign up for GoodCrush. With any luck, one (or more) of the crushes will align. Then, an email is sent to both parties revealing the name of the other person. The rest is in their hands.

Liben’s roommate has already made a connection. “They knew each other, so they kind of figured they would do it, but there was a chance they might not [get together otherwise].”

Weinstein started GoodCrush in 2007 as a student government experiment. Almost overnight, a quarter of the student body signed up with crushes. Since then, chapters have been created at colleges along both coasts. Ironically, Princeton is not even listed among the site’s top 5 “most crushed schools,” which is instead topped by Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and Oberlin.

Piggybacking on the main mode of crush-stalking, Liben also created a “Columbia GoodCrush” Facebook page. The page, which has over 80 members, has direct links to the GoodCrush website and the Columbia Directory.

Another feature of the GoodCrush website is the “Top 10,” which offers an ego boost to whoever garners a Top 10 crushed-on position. Sadly, Columbia is still 73 sign-ups short of being allowed a Top 10. Another tab called “Missed Connections” offers random posts, like “Butler 209: I love our matching red scarves … maybe we match in other ways,” from a male seeking a female. Oh, how Butler always manages to cultivate love.

Liben pointed out one of the site’s potential drawbacks. “People ask, ‘What if I do it seriously and someone else doesn’t?’ But that’s a risk that I’m willing to take for a match.”

For those interested in more than just matching UNIs, there is a Columbia launch party on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at Gallery Bar (120 Orchard St. at Delancey). While GoodCrush may not incur a wave of true love across campus, if the site catches on here as much as it has elsewhere, there might be fewer dateless singles come Valentine’s Day next year.

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