UC Berkeley dating website aims to connect fellow bears during quarantine

Photo of Evercampus dating website
Jeong Yun Choi/Staff
UC Berkeley alumnus Albert Pun publicized the website through the popular Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page and, as of press time, the website has more than 1,000 users, setting up more than 700 dates, according to Pun.

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A new UC Berkeley dating website, Evercampus, hopes to give fellow bears a way to connect with potential significant others during quarantine.

The dating platform is only available to UC Berkeley students, requiring participants to log in through their campus email as verification. By creating an exclusively UC Berkeley student dating site, creator and recent campus graduate Albert Pun said he aspired to make a platform that feels safe and fosters a sense of relatability for its users.

“I had talked to a lot of friends and hearing their problems about dating during COVID so I thought I would make a fun way to meet people,” Pun said.

Pun publicized the website through the popular Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page and, as of press time, the website has more than 1,000 users, setting up more than 700 dates, according to Pun.

Campus sophomore Ryan Cheng was one of the many people to tag his friend in the post’s comments. The two of them proceeded to sign up and match with each other “as a meme,” but also connected with other users. Cheng has not met up with any of his matches as of yet but said he is not opposed to the idea in the future.

“It’s just something I saw on Facebook and said I’ll give it a try,” Cheng said. “It’s not like an ‘I’m going to find the love of my life.’ It’s more like I’ll meet a new friend.”

Campus senior Angel Lau, along with some of her friends, signed up for fun.

Lau described herself as not a fan of online dating platforms. She still sees the site as a cool way to connect with people of similar interests, even if not romantically. Lau said one of the matches she sparked a conversation with was a fellow senior majoring in city planning.

“When I look through the different matches or people, they vary from different majors and classes,” Lau said. “I follow a bunch of different people that I probably would have never met if I hadn’t been on this.”

Campus senior Melissa Regalado said in an email she has mixed feelings about her experience. After matching people together, the website asks users to input their availability for a virtual hangout, according to the website.

While Regalado understands the appeal of this design, she said she does not feel comfortable meeting people over a video call without getting to know them beforehand.

Regalado said she still enjoys how the website creates a space for meeting new people at a school as big as UC Berkeley.

As one of the dating website’s first users, campus freshman Ben Trefry said it has been cool to see Pun seeking feedback from the community and implementing improvements, as the platform is still a work in progress.

One area where he feels the platform could improve is by allowing users to filter by categories such as class. Trefry said he and one of his matches decided their age difference was “just too much in terms of being in different worlds.”

Trefry added he has been drawn to other campus dating and social apps, especially during the isolation stemming from COVID-19.

“If you’re here on campus physically and you put a lot of effort into socializing, you will make a large group of acquaintances and a lot of people you say hi to in the halls, but not necessarily any close friends you have a ton in common with,” Trefry said. “That’s what I was looking for, both then and now.”

Contact Kaleo Mark at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @kaleomark_dc.