Iona College develops Gaels-only dating app

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Photo from Tero Vesalainen for Getty Images

Iona’s Gael Connect will allow students to easily make connections on campus.

Aliyah Rodriguez, Features & Lifestyle Editor

*Disclaimer: The following article is meant to be taken as joke partaking in April Fool’s Day 

With the pandemic causing detrimental changes to students’ social lives, dating on campus has taken a major hit. Iona College has heard the complaints from students begging for their social life to get back to normal and has decided to handle this dilemma digitally. 

Gael Connect, the official Iona College dating app, will be launching for iOS and Android devices mid-April. The college’s computer science department has worked tirelessly since August to bring this app to the campus, and recent pilots in game development classes have finally made it a reality.  

 The app will function similarly to other popular dating apps like Bumble or Tinder, except that only enrolled Gaels will be able to use it. With Gael Connect, students will be able to create personalized profiles based on their interests such a favorite colors, favorite foods and favorite places to hang out on campus and in the New Rochelle area, as well as their majors.  

Online dating has experienced a lot of criticism in recent years for offering too much choice, allowing platforms for quick hook-ups and treating dating as a meat market but Gael Connect intends on putting all those negative connotations to rest. Recent studies show that online dating is improving the potential for romantic compatibility by broadening users’ options in romantic partners 

A 2019 Pew Research Center Poll shows that 30% of adults say they have used a dating site or app – including adults ages 18 to 24 on college campuses who are traditionally expected to have a greater chance of meeting romantic partners through friends or school. Everything isn’t positive with dating apps, however, as 57% of female users ages 18 to 34 report being sent a sexually explicit message or image they didn’t ask for. 

So how will Gaels protect themselves from negative interactions such as unsolicited attention and verbal abuse from scorned lovers through the app? Unlike broader dating apps like Tinder, Gael Connect will also have a feature that allows students to report others for inappropriate behavior and the campus will directly contact accused students to discuss allegations.  

The Ionian will also now feature a section highlighting romantic connections made through the app.  

Freshman App Annie was pleased to hear about the campus’ new initiative.  

“I’m very excited about this,” Annie said. “I thought I’d meet my true love at Iona, but I haven’t had any luck this year, maybe Gael Connect will help!” 

Gael Connect will be coming to a smart device near you. Keep an eye out for Iona’s official announcement about the app’s launch later this month.