Thursday, May 23

New UCLA-exclusive dating website brings Bruins closer together

A group of UCLA students created an online dating site that sets users up on blind dates.
(Courtesy of Dmitri Brereton)

A group of UCLA students created an online dating site that sets users up on blind dates. (Courtesy of Dmitri Brereton)

This post was updated on Jan. 15 at 6:30 p.m. 

Students looking for a significant other on campus have a new website to help them find one.

BruinMeet, which launched in November, helps UCLA students set up in-person meetings with other Bruins. The program, which currently has about 400 total users, matches individuals and sets them up on blind dates on campus.

Dmitri Brereton, a third-year computer science student and founder, product manager and a back-end developer of BruinMeet, said he thinks the program helps people connect without the stress of progressing from texting someone to meeting them in person.

“Our mission is to make dating as fun and easy as possible,” Brereton, a Daily Bruin staffer, said. “The easiest way to find out if you have a connection is meeting up in person.”

Users can customize their preferences from a variety of genders, races and sexualities when setting up their profiles.

“Even though our focus is on dating, it really is about meeting people outside of your usual groups,” Brereton said.

Jeffrey Chan, a back-end developer for BruinMeet, said the website’s algorithm sorts through users’ preferences and profile responses. One of the team’s 10 members then manually pairs users based on their compatibility and sets a time and place for a date.

Chan, a third-year computer science student, said he thinks the program is safe and accessible for users because it is only open to UCLA students. He added that although the program currently pulls users’ photos from their Facebook profiles, they are working on allowing users to upload their own pictures.

Brereton said he founded Bruin Connections, which used a Google Form to match couples together, in February. Following the success of the program, he decided to relaunch the program as BruinMeet in November.

“We just did it for fun, but we found that after Valentine’s Day people kept joining,” he said.

Chan, who built the website’s matchmaking algorithms, said he got involved in BruinMeet because he was curious about the project’s goal of better connecting the UCLA community. He added that working on the program has been exciting for him because it lets him use his programming skills in a leadership role.

“There aren’t too many opportunities for college students to create apps,” Chan said. “It’s kind of scary that I’m actually supporting a project that directly affects other individuals.”

Karen Fann, a second-year computer science and engineering student and front-end developer and designer for BruinMeet, said the program has helped her find a community within UCLA that supports her interests and lets her practice coding.

“Every week we have hack night – it’s definitely a community,” she said. “Figuring out what people want to see on the site is definitely stressful, but it’s ultimately a lot of fun.”

Jorge Fuentes, a third-year computer science student who used BruinMeet once, said he thinks the program is easy to use and streamlines the dating process.

“You get to know someone in person first without the additional stress of texting,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes added he likes that the program allows him to quickly set up a date and balance it with his schedule.

“It’s a great way to find someone and it doesn’t require too much effort,” he said. “I just have an account and get an email when I match with someone.”

Fann said the team hopes to increase the site’s number of users through a speed dating event on Valentine’s Day.

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  • Celia Cody-Carrese

    Question for the app developers: why does the app allow you to select racial preference? The stated mission is to facilitate “meeting people outside of your usual groups.” Most people hang out with, and date, people in their same racial group. Allowing people to select that they only want to date within their racial group is extremely limiting in terms of potential matches and upholds a culture of prejudice.

    • Dmitri Brereton

      I agree with you, and hopefully people do choose to meet people outside of their racial group. However, users are free to use the app however they want, and many users wanted this option.