The Collegian
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Organization matchmakes blind dates for vision care nonprofit

<p>Graphic courtesy of Dating Spiders.</p>

Graphic courtesy of Dating Spiders.

Editor's note: Caio Rodolfo is a Collegian photographer and multimedia producer. 

With Valentine’s Day arriving, love is in the air at the University of Richmond. There is a new group on campus that aims to ignite fireworks between members of our community: Dating Spiders. 

Dating Spiders is a program open to UR students only that operates under a broader organization, Theia, which is a double-dating service on several college campuses. The organization raises money to help those who cannot afford vision care through donations to the non-profit OneSight. According to the mission statement, its goal is to create a positive dating culture for all by building relationships through low-pressure double dates. On UR’s campus, the group is run by sophomores Sylvie Escobar, Paige Parsons, Caio Rodolfo, Phoenix Silkensen and Katie Wang.

“I know the students will enjoy it, and we hope to impact the world through Onesight just by connecting students in our community,” Parsons said. 

The first round of matches is set to come out today, just in time for Valentine's Day. But those who forgot to sign up this time don’t need to worry, as Dating Spiders plans to continue matchmaking throughout the year. Students can register for free – although donations are encouraged – through the link in the organization’s Instagram, where they will indicate a friend they would like to go on the double-date with. They will then fill out a brief questionnaire, which enables them to be matched with a date and then receive a text message once their match is found. Follow-up details including potential options for first dates, such as restaurants, parks and bowling are also sent to the love birds. 

Dating Spiders is also working to pair with local restaurants and services to help promote the program by having discounts and buy-one-get-one options. With updates shared through their Instagram and following members of the campus community, nearly 80 students have registered. 

Sophomore Isabel Pearson is looking forward to meeting new people through the organization, all while still being able to have a friend as an extra layer of comfort, she said. A blind double-date is definitely a unique way to meet people and go on a fun outing with no pressure or obligations, she said.

Each registration donates five dollars to OneSight. OneSight is an independent nonprofit organization that helps provide eye care for those in underserved communities. As of today, Theia has raised over $7,000 for the cause and hopes to continue this positive trajectory. 

Junior Annie Beckerman and her friends decided to register because they thought it would be fun in addition to supporting a good cause, she said. 

First dates can be scary, with societal pressures, nerves and expectations making the experience stressful and sometimes unenjoyable. Dating Spiders hopes to eradicate this concept by pairing compatible people together on a double date with friends in the hopes of the creation of new relationships and connections. Register to be a part of this incredible program, and just maybe find your true love. 

Contact lifestyle writer Julia Borger at julia.borger@richmond.edu.

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