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The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

Local singles reject each other on “The Button”

Rowan Larson & Logan McGaheran

An array of college students as well as community members sat in lecture hall desks, buzzing with anticipation before Hamline Unidos and Black Student Collective’s (BSC) “The Button” speed dating event. Based on the popular YouTube series from the channel Cut, The Button features a pool of characters in the dating scene who pair up with a mysterious button on the table between them. The button will periodically light up red at any point during the date and either contestant may press it to swap out their partner for a new person. This format has led to many jokes, laughs and occasionally moments of a special connection.

Unidos and BSC’s version provided a signup Google Form for those wishing to compete. The prize for the winning couple was a second date with $75 worth of expenses covered. A whopping 62 forms were received and approximately one-third of them were non-Hamline students, while 45 of the applications were able to participate.

Junior Elmo Glass was the mastermind and voice behind the big red button.
“The Button came about really as a joke among a group of my friends and people complaining about being single on campus … Eventually, I brought it up with Elisa [Lopez], and she loved it, and she worked incredibly hard turning the ‘joke’ into a reality,” Glass wrote in a text.

With both the collaborators working together, they were able to create this event with the help of their respective organizations, the previously mentioned Unidos and BSC.
“So I was like, let’s collaborate and have our multicultural [organizations] run it. We were like, ‘Let’s just do it for fun,’” Sophomore Elisa Lopez added.

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Lopez took on most of the logistics of the night while Glass focused on getting into the character of “Miss Button”, as he liked to call it.
“It was definitely a challenge. In moments of awkwardness my job was to really break the ice or make them laugh,” Glass said about his part. However, the entertainment aspects are only half of the battle.
“Elisa had the hard part: randomly pairing, checking compatibility and giving me the information [of] the two participants. She juggled so many things and did all of them exceptionally well,” Glass said of his co-host.

With over a hundred people filled in GLC 100W, there were not enough chairs for everyone to fit in, resulting in several people having to find spots along the back wall and the floor. With plenty of chattering to fill the space, the energy in the room was high and it could have been a bit more than what they expected. However, Lopez did not let this hinder her.
“It was definitely chaotic,” Lopez said about the role. “There was a lot of learning on the spot, but I think it went really well. I felt really good about it.”

The unpredictability of the night is one of the contributors to what made it as big as it was.
“The real surprise was getting students from other campuses at all, as the whole event was marketed in really two weeks,” Glass said.

The excitement and buzz around the concept by Hamline students helped immensely in contributing to its success. By the end of the night, there were over 130 students crammed into the classroom, cheering on their peers as the participants made romantic remarks from opposite sides of the button.

“I guess it helped with the whole forced intimacy of the event.” Glass said.

Due to the complexities behind holding speed dating events, Glass had to dive deeper into his approach to his job as Ms. Button.
“Honestly, I was pretty nervous when it came to planning The Button,” Glass said.

There were a lot of factors to consider–especially those concerning etiquette and courtesy–as love can be delicate to navigate, even through wacky and ridiculous scenarios like a game show.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I felt like there were so many ways it could go wrong.” He said.

From the original YouTube series having a rigid basis in entertainment and comedic value, there was a tightrope to balance on in making sure everyone stayed respectful. However, the night was a success in making everybody feel comfortable and valued.

“I think the button wasn’t really just about dating, but getting people to learn about one another and break down barriers between different groups on campus,” Glass said. A range of sexualities were showcased on The Button, and although Hamline prides itself on being an inclusive campus, it was still admirable to showcase these identities sincerely. The event also included many different personalities from football players to tabletop RPG gamers, showing that no matter how different students may appear, there are still connections waiting to be made between them.

“It was a chance for students to connect with each other and laugh at themselves, and of course scout to find their next boo thing or whatever,” Glass said.

A surprising eight matches emerged Thursday night on March 21, but the winners of the event were sophomore Valentina Hernandez and off-campus participant Sena Budimlic.
“I went for funsies and met someone really cool,” Budimlic said.

Due to the triumph and impact of Hamline’s The Button, there is a strong likelihood that the red button will make a comeback once more.
“The energy around the event was really something special,” Glass said.

There has been talk of conducting another event like this next spring due to its popularity, hopefully closer toward Valentine’s Day.
“So yes you will see The Button, Ms. Button [Glass] and Ms. Information [Lopez] again for sure next year.”

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