Love On The Heights Fosters Campus Connections

Finding love on the Heights can be a difficult task for many students at Boston College. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, many BC students may avoid the multitude of couples’ dedication posts on social media, wishing they had a special someone of their own to celebrate with. 

This year, the headache of wanting to find the perfect match may come with a remedy—thanks to BC’s Love On The Heights.

Inspired by his parents’ blind-date love story, current Wake Forest University senior Ted Middleton sought to create Theia, an organization that would promote a positive dating culture on college campuses by organizing personalized and low-pressure double dates, according to its website.

Middleton and three other classmates launched Dating Deacons, Theia’s first affiliate, at Wake Forest University in January 2020. Theia is now the parent company that has sparked the quest to find love through blind double dates at a total of nine college campuses across the country.

Its most recent affiliate? BC.

Looking to expand the Theia organization, Middleton was put in contact with Antonio Imbriano, CSOM ’23, through a mutual friend. When asked if he’d be interested in working with Theia and introducing blind double dates to BC, Imbriano quickly agreed.

Imbriano said that Love On The Heights uses a combination of both an algorithm and a human matchmaker to pair people together.

“Dating culture here is the worst, the absolute worst, and the idea is just to introduce a casual way to increase that dating community,” Imbriano said. 

Originally getting involved just to do something fun and help out a friend, Imbriano later discovered through working with Middleton and Theia that there was a much larger purpose to what he was bringing to BC’s campus.

“People want to meet people, and I think that’s super evident given that BC actually has the most registrations out of all of the nine schools that are involved, and if I can help bring that to the school then sure, but what has kept me with it is the charitable aspect of it all,” Imbriano said. 

Theia is a partner of OneSight, an independent nonprofit which aims to provide access to eye exams and glasses to underserved communities worldwide. 

According to Theia’s website, Middleton was inspired to partner with OneSight because he is legally blind himself. 

“​​I just think the idea of blind dates for the blind works so well,” Imbriano said. “It’s well-intentioned all the way around, from the service aspect to where the money is actually going. And I think that’s really cool to be a part of.”

Although there was initially a mandatory registration fee of five dollars—which was directly donated to OneSight—Imbriano said that the fee has since been waived to encourage more people to register.

For over nine months now, Imbriano, currently the only BC student involved in running and promoting the organization on campus, has worked closely with Middleton and his team at Theia to launch Love On The Heights.

His main task was to promote the organization at BC through the Love On The Heights Instagram account which includes a series of lighthearted and goofy posts aimed to encourage individuals to spread the word and register with a friend. 

Registration is designed to be as straightforward and stress-free as possible, Imbriano said. When you find a friend to register with, you fill out your and your friend’s information and complete a survey consisting of approximately 30 questions. These casual, lighthearted, and sometimes silly questions ask your preferred music genre, your thoughts on tattoos, and whether or not you pee in the shower. 

“It’s supposed to be funny,” Imbriano said. “It’s supposed to be trying to get people together on the very simplest level.” 

The questions vary among the different Theia affiliates, Imbriano said, and Middleton constantly changes them around.

“I mean, he’ll call me up like, ‘What do you think about this question?’” Imbriano said. “He’s just constantly adding stuff, changing it around.” 

According to Imbriano, once a pair submits its questionnaire responses, the fate of your pairing lies in the hands of artificial intelligence and an algorithm—which Theia’s Chief Technology Officer Sheel Patel helped design—and a human matchmaker who works for Theia.  

“You still have to have that human touch, right?” Imbriano said. “Because A.I. and algorithms can only teach you so much based upon answers.”

Imbriano said he has no authority or insight over the actual matchmaking and pairing process. 

After a year that lacked human touch and interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Imbriano acknowledged that the idea of meeting new people can be intimidating to some. 

“That’s the whole aspect of these blind double dates,” he said. “It’s supposed to take the pressure off a little bit. If you and a friend are going together, then it’s a little bit easier than a one-on-one experience.”

The double dates model also serves to ensure the safety of all registered participants. The Theia website provides a series of resources in the case of emergencies or if participants need further support following their date, Imbriano said.

While finding your one true pairing seems an unlikely outcome for most participants, the prospect of meeting two strangers who attend BC in a casual setting was what encouraged Natalie Flint, Lynch ’25, to sign up with her roommate.

“I was originally apprehensive about doing this,” she said. “A friend had brought it to my attention, and my first response was ‘Absolutely not.’ But I gave it some more thought and figured, ‘What do I have to lose? If anything, I’ll make a potential friend or have an experience with a friend to look back on.” 

And that was exactly the goal, Imbriano said. 

“It doesn’t even have to be romantic if you don’t want it to be,” he said. “The program’s called Love On The Heights, but if you don’t find love, it’s not like it’s a failure. It’s really just the fun of meeting new people.”

Now with over 500 registrations at BC, which equates to over 1,000 participants, the first batch of matches were released in the early evening of Feb. 14. A Theia matchmaker added matched pairs to a group chat and gave a suggested time and place for their double date.

“My roommate and I were freaking out,” Flint said. “We had no idea who these guys were. It was definitely a mixture of being excited, intrigued, and nervous all at the same time.” 

Imbriano’s advice for those who are nervous about their upcoming date or hesitant about even registering is to be yourself.

“The people you’re getting matched with are probably feeling the same way,” he said. “Be yourself. Be goofy. Be fun. You don’t have to pretend to be perfect. I think that’s the issue with our dating culture nowadays—everyone wants to be this ‘perfect’ version of themselves. We’re all human. If the matchmaking works the way I think it will, I think you’ll find a lot of good responses to just being you.” Imbriano said. 

Two days after the first round of matches were released, Love On The Heights announced on their Instagram that they would continue to accept registrations for their next round of double dates, which will be released on March 7,  reassuring those who didn’t receive a match in the first round that love would once again be restored on the Heights in a couple of weeks. 

“Sign up,” Imbriano said. “Try it out. Give love a chance.”

Featured Graphic by Liz Schwab / Heights Editor

Photos Courtesy of Love On The Heights

February 27, 2022