30 Daily Dates wraps up with panel

Greg Zwiers

One month after the 30 Daily Daters’ last date, they gathered before a crowd of about 100 people to discuss their experience with 30 Daily Dates.

The Iowa State Daily Media Group organized a social experiment that paired 10 ISU students into couples who agreed to spend at least 30 minutes together on a date every day for 30 days in March.

During the month of April, the Iowa State Daily has been publishing journal entries form the daters as well as dating tips and guest columns about healthy dating practices.

“The goal was purely to generate a discussion about healthy relationships,” said Emily Barske, junior in journalism and mass communication and special sections editor for the Iowa State Daily.

Barske and other members of the Iowa State Daily sifted through hundreds of applications to pair the five couples together. Thielen Student Health Center and Iowa State Recreation services as well as 11 Ames businesses partnered with 30 Daily Dates to provide locations and money for some of the dates.

Lawrence Cunningham, CEO of the Iowa State Daily Media Group, said the experiment was more about healthy communication and it didn’t have to be romantic.

“It was about people who are willing to put themselves out there and take a risk in the public eye in order to help improve the amount and the quality of conversation around what it takes to build healthy relationships,” Cunningham said.

After all the daters introduced themselves, Barske showed a video of the daters discussing how they felt about the experiment.

Dr. Carver Nebbe, a psychiatrist at the student health center was emcee for the event. Nebbe asked the students what got them interested in the experiment and how their families reacted to it.

“I think each of them learned something good from it and I definitely learned something from them, so I hope everybody else did,” Barske said.

None of the participants have gone on any dates since the end of the 30 days in March.

“We’re still friends and I view his Snapchat story, so I live vicariously through that,” said Olivia Weikum, junior in public relations, to laughter from the crowd.

Weikum was paired with Daniel Woiwor, sophomore in pre-business and member of the ISU wrestling team. Woiwor said he quickly noticed that he became comfortable with Weikum.

Weikum and Woiwor have a mutual friend and were able to hang out together with that friend.

Ashley Amborn, sophomore in interior design, was unable to make it to the panel because of work. She was paired with Matthew Chatman, junior in advertising.

“It was all an experiment and we didn’t know what the outcome would be and I think we had some fun and interesting stories along the way,” Cunningham said.

Chatman said that after the 30 days was over, he wanted to give Amborn some space and planned on waiting a day or two before texting her. Then he got wrapped up in school and life and didn’t get to it.

Chatman said his main takeaway from the experience was knowing who you are and being comfortable with yourself before starting a relationship.

“Part of the experiment was getting to know somebody and connecting on a personal level,” Barske said when asked why the daters didn’t know each other as opposed to already existing couples.

Barske said all the applicants answered a 20 question survey. She said she paid special attention to what people listed as their deal breakers on the questionnaire.

“The real inspiration was how can we get people talking about healthy relationships,” Barske said.

Cunningham said he has been asked a lot about whether the Daily will repeat 30 Daily Dates next year. He said he does not know for sure, but definitely wants to do another social experiment.

He said the Daily is in the position to raise the profile of important conversations whether that’s through newspaper, a website or a social experiment.

“It’s not all about the platform anymore,” Cunningham said. “It’s about the conversation.”