UI students play matchmaker, create blind dates for Valentine’s Day


Angel Saldivar

Cesar Monsalud, senior in Engineering, is a part of the Illini Reddit community. Monsalud created a matchmaking thread on the app to set students up on blind dates for Valentine’s Day.

By Amrita Bhattacharyya, News Editor

Cesar Monsalud, senior in Engineering, led a team of 10 students in creating matches on Valentine’s Day for people interested in going out on Valentine’s Day. 

Monsalud made a Reddit post on Feb. 2 in r/UIUC with a Google Forms, calling his project the “Dating Illini.” 

Matching a total of 112 people, Monsalud and his team finished last Wednesday and sent out emails to the matches.

Last year, Monsalud made a Dating Illini post for the holidays. With the goal of creating perfect matches in mind, Monsalud says he only made about 10 matches total out of 100 people applying. 

“Last year, with me and my team, we tried doing it based on perfect matches,” Monsalud said. “I was trying to pair everyone up perfectly, and I couldn’t do it.”

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As a result, Monsalud decided to take matters into his own hands.

This year, everyone who applied in time would be matched. 

“I asked people what they didn’t want,” Monsalud said. “It’s like 1,000 times easier this year.”

Lindsay Merdian, sophomore in LAS and Media, joined the team after Monsalud asked her if she was interested in helping out. 

“I used to make PowerPoints for my friends a lot with just random things, like matching them with fictional characters or different things,” Merdian said. 

Merdian made a couple matches and checked over matches that other members on the team made.

“It was just kind of fun to see that come together,” Merdian said.

Monsalud said one of his motivations for creating Dating Illini was because he noticed a lot of posts on r/UIUC about people saying they were lonely and looking for more friends. 

“I just want to make sure that nobody is lonely on Valentine’s Day,” the Reddit post by Monsalud said. 

A transfer student himself, Monsalud said he felt that the University’s effort in helping transfer students get to know each other fell short. 

“I feel like … the school made a little effort to match up the freshmen,” Monsalud said. “For us transfer students, we kind of got screwed over pretty hard.So, ever since last year, I’ve been making pairs with friends. And then I’ve just been doing that for my whole time here. Just helping people get connected because I know how it is to feel lonely.”

Monsalud intends to send out a response form after Valentine’s Day to get feedback on the quality of the matches. He also plans on matching up any last-minute dates for those who signed up for Dating Illini and were stood up on Valentine’s Day.

“I hope that everything goes well first time around,” Monsalud said. 

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