Canisius to host speed dating event

By Sheena Segun-Oye

Features Contributor

On Feb. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m., Canisius College will have its first speed dating event at the Grupp Lounge, second floor in the student center. The event is a fundraiser and all proceeds go toward scholarships for entrepreneurship students. The fundraiser was organized by a group of students in the Experimental Entrepreneurship class (ENT 101), taught by Professor Ji-Hee Kim.

The term ‘speed dating’ might bring back memories of scenes from Gossip Girl or Hitch. This formalized matchmaking process dates back to 1998 when Rabbi Yaacov Deyo encouraged Antony Bellinston, a Los Angeles-based television executive, to conceive new, innovative ways for eligible Jewish to meet and marry. The purpose was to encourage eligible singles to meet large numbers of new and potential partners in a very short period of time. The first speed dating event took place at Peet’s Cafe in Beverly Hills.

Ashley Lorich, an Entrepreneurship major, explained “My entrepreneurship class had to pick a Valentine’s Day theme for our fundraiser, so my group got together and thought about doing something different from the original basket raffles. We wanted to do something to get college students involved that were single around Valentine’s Day.”

Curtis Narine, a Digital Media Arts and Marketing major, added, “Since this is around Valentine’s Day, we believed it would be a great business idea. There may be lots of single people who just want to have fun, you never know.”

The speed dating fundraiser is aimed at giving back to community. Dr. Kim said, “We are the future entrepreneurs and we ask ourselves what our roles and responsibilities are, and in turn give that back to our community. The fundraiser will be used to give back to scholarships.”

However, there is more from the project to benefit from which will help improve students’ skills. “This is an entrepreneurship exercise on how to develop ideas and practice those ideas,” Dr. Kim said. “Instead of just reading from textbooks, it is also important for [the students] to have their own experiences. I gave them the Valentine’s day concept because there will be lots of competitors so they need to be creative. Through this experience they will learn idea generation, marketing, training, how to approach customers, and how to make money. During this project, the students are going to learn a lot about entrepreneurship.”

Speed dating is a very interesting and engaging idea because the men and women are usually rotated ranging from 3 to 8 minutes depending on the organizers. A time limit ensures that participants are not stuck with awkward partners for a long time or keeping other potential partners to one person in particular. Depending on how the conversation goes, the signal when the time is up could be a surprise or a relief. After the process, you can decide who you want to see again. The general procedures are planned and determined by the organizers. This speed dating event was organized by Ashley Lorich, Curtis Narine, Jake Denzeli, and Thomas Napolitano and there were no clubs or organizations involved.

Tickets are only five dollars and come with free pop and water. Baked goods and pizza are available for an extra dollar, all an incentive to raise as much money as possible. Organizers are hoping for a huge turnout, “We are looking forward to 50-80 people coming,” said Lorich.

Students interested in attending the event are required to register online in advance to help organizers plan even more efficiently and aim for an equal number of men and women. The speed dating fundraiser is not limited to Canisius College, but is open to other colleges around which makes it even more exciting and a chance to meet new, unfamiliar personalities. Narine said, “Anyone can come as long as they have a valid College I.D. We’ve talked to people at Buff State, Daemen College, UB. You do not have to go to Canisius.”

Dr. Kim is looking forward to the success of the event. She said, “They developed their own ideas and this way, they’ll enjoy the project more. I feel it will be a pretty successful outcome, no doubt about that.”

Narine encourages students to come to the fundraiser and invite as many people as possible, “People should come, have a good time, maybe meet someone you may actually be interested in.” McKenna Kearns, a student who will be attending the event, expressed, “I’m looking forward to meeting and interacting with new people. I want to see how the event turns out, ask questions and make friends.”

No one should pass up this refreshing, drama-free opportunity due to preconceived notions of speed dating. This is an easy and efficient avenue to interact and establish more connections, while donating to a meaningful cause. It might not work out for everyone but it’s still an experience that could. After all, it can’t hurt to step outside comfortable and familiar territory. At worst, it might be a good story to tell someday.



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