marriage pact

Editor’s note: Celia Cunnion is employed at The Daily Nebraskan Marketing Group.

In the popular ‘90s sitcom “Friends,” two characters, Monica and Chandler, make a pact in an early season to get married if they aren’t by the time they turn 30. This marriage pact would go on to inspire the name of a survey created by Stanford economics major Sophia Sterling-Angus.

The survey, which seeks to match college students up with their ideal long-term partner, was replicated at other universities such as Columbia, Oxford and Yale. Thanks to University of Nebraska-Lincoln students Celia Cunnion, Jay Gregor and Chase Auman, the matchmaking survey will be accessible for the UNL student body. 

The UNL Marriage Pact, comprising 50 questions that ask about everything from religion to sexual tendencies, closes Feb. 11. Results will be released Friday, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Once the algorithm configures the answers, it will send the contact of another student who had similar answers. 

“The premise behind it is that's your backup plan or your pact if you aren’t with someone by the end of however long,” Gregor said. “In reality, it's more like a way to meet people. If you're interested in dating that person that’s great, but it’s just kind of building connections around college kids.”

Gregor, Auman and Cunnion all knew of each other prior to the genesis of the UNL Marriage Pact, but it was a friend of Gregor’s from Columbia that first inspired them to bring the pact to UNL.

“My friend loved to talk about [the survey] and how much drama it caused in the nightlife for college students there,” Gregor said. “I just really wanted to bring that to UNL because of the amount of students here and how it'll just make it that much more fun and dramatic once the results are out.”

Once Gregor came back and told Cunnion and Auman about the survey, they went to work creating it for the Husker student body. 

“I started out helping Jay out at first, and then I guess as time went on I realized I was interested in actually helping freshmen and underclassmen meet one another,” Auman said. “I like people. I like seeing how people interact with each other, so this just kind of stuck out to me.”

According to Cunnion, the original Marriage Pact project expanded into a business that allowed others to set it up at their own university. The orientation to set up the Marriage Pact took about three weeks, in which all three students had to pick 50 questions out of a premade list of 100 and devise marketing strategies. 

“It was a lot of time and Zoom meetings and just a lot of us just texting every person we knew to encourage them to take the pact as well as figuring out cheap marketing and ways to put it out there,” Cunnion said.

Since the genesis of the original Marriage Pact, Cunnion said there have been various success stories featuring people who met their best friend or spouse. While Cunnion, Auman and Gregor don’t all believe an algorithm can find a person’s soulmate, there was a consensus that it’s helpful in finding compatible people to reach out to. 

“After this, I feel like an algorithm is really good for finding a friend that you match really well with. I think you're going to get along very well just because of how similar your results will be,” Auman said. “For relationships, I’m not sure if it will necessarily find that perfect partner, because I think dating is based a lot on looks as well compatibility. However, I do think there are going to be some cases where people find a good someone.”