ND Marriage Pact

Author: Megan Kelleher


So long, Hinge and Tinder! The Marriage Pact is the new matchmaking application taking the Notre Dame campus by storm.

The Marriage Pact is not technically a platform, like other popular dating apps, but a company created by two college students from Stanford University. The pair developed an algorithm back in 2017 to find students their perfect match on Stanford University’s campus. After achieving massive success, the duo transformed the company into a nationwide student-run organization that operates through student representatives at several colleges and universities.

Inspired by a friend’s experience at another school, junior Gádor Aliseda-Canton and her partner, who requested to remain anonymous, reached out to the official Marriage Pact organization in early March of this year, asking to implement their algorithm at Notre Dame.

The entire process of bringing the Marriage Pact to campus took just over two weeks, requiring Aliseda-Canton and her team to meet with the Marriage Pact representatives, rework the algorithm for Notre Dame’s specific population, and market to Notre Dame students before the official release date in April.

The team took to Instagram to spark students’ interest in the Marriage Pact, creating an account on March 27 that advertised their survey link, which remained open for students to participate in from March 31 until April 10.

“The algorithm is the secret sauce behind the pact,” Aliseda-Canton said. “We wanted to personalize it for our campus, so we helped the company generate specific questions targeting ideas surrounding family life and marriage goals that were not already in the generic algorithm.”

Upon completion of the 10-20-minute, 50-question survey, students had to wait until April 11 to let the algorithm run before the respondents were given the name and Notre Dame email address of their match.

In the end, over 2,700 undergraduate students filled out the survey, generating roughly 1,400 matches. Unfortunately, there were about thirty more females looking for male partners than males available, so a group of students went unmatched. These females were the last participants to fill out the survey and were subsequently removed from the pool before the algorithm was run.

The algorithm is the Marriage Pact’s unique selling point, but Aliseda-Canton and her team couldn’t see how the math played out. The only information visible to the ND Marriage Pact team were the timestamps and genders of the students filling out the survey.

On the night of Sunday, April 11, students checked their emails to discover who might be their perfect match, but Aliseda-Canton said that the quality of matches varied. Approximately five pairs on campus were deemed “perfect” matches or 100% matches, but others reported matches in as low as the 10.39% percentile of all possible matches.

Following the release of results, the ND Marriage Pact Instagram story requested feedback on matches. One horror story included a student matching with their twin while another student matched with their best friend’s current significant other. That being said, many pairs commented on the story, praising their match and sharing exciting news about coffee dates and budding new friendships.

“The nice thing about the Marriage Pact is that it is not binding. It is a great way to meet new people that you would not have necessarily met otherwise,” Aliseda-Canton explained. “The ND Marriage Pact offered a low-stakes way for people to meet and talk about things like family goals or professional goals right from the get-go, without fear, because it was all in the survey.”

Beyond promising the potential love of a lifetime, the Marriage Pact invites students to engage with one another on a deeper level than is customary. Though the name might be misleading, perfect romantic matches were not the entire point of the ND Marriage Pact; students that were already in relationships even took the survey with the intent of finding new friends.

The ND Marriage Pact team encourages students to continue reaching out to their matches and providing feedback via Instagram. As for all the unlucky Irish that did not get the chance to fill out the survey or whose matches were far from perfect, they’ll get a second chance: The ND Marriage Pact will be back next fall.