The home page of TerpMatch, a dating site developed by University of Maryland student Brandon Ferrell. (Photo courtesy of TerpMatch)
By Molly Welby
For The Diamondback
TerpMatch, a University of Maryland-specific dating site, went from a coding side project to a household name for thousands of students within days of its launch in December.
Now, with many students no longer on campus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the site’s creator, Brandon Ferrell, is facing a burning question: Will TerpMatch make a return for the end of the online semester?
Ferrell, a senior computer science major, said he wasn’t originally planning on bringing the site back this semester. However, after receiving multiple requests from students, he’s thinking he’ll launch it soon.
“I think I’m going to launch it probably sometime in the next week or two,” he said — but in light of the current crisis, he would want to make some adjustments.
[Read more: UMD’s TerpMatch dating site racks up over 1,300 users in four days]
Modeled after a similar site at Dartmouth University, TerpMatch allows students to log in with their university email accounts and search for names of classmates they’re interested in. If two users type in each others’ names, they can both view the match.
Ferrell is considering adapting the site to provide users with their matches’ Zoom usernames — contact information on the platform currently used by many professors to conduct virtual classes.
Brittany Williams, a senior family science major and a friend of Ferrell’s, said she would love to see the site launched again this semester. It would help people connect virtually, she said.
“It would be exciting,” Williams said. “I feel like it would be a fun thing that would kind of bring the community together.”
Jake Klaiman, a junior public policy and Spanish major, said he likes the site’s concept but probably wouldn’t sign up for it this semester.
“I’ve kind of been checked out from Maryland,” said Klaiman, who was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this semester before being sent home in mid-March. Even so, he thinks others would still find the application appealing.
[Read more: Can online dating survive COVID-19?]
“I can see where it would be a fun little distraction from coronavirus and finals,” he said.
For sophomore biology major Jake Bugenhagen, the mysterious nature of TerpMatch is intriguing, and if the site is launched this semester, he would definitely participate, he said. He tried it out first last fall, as entertainment amid the looming pressure of finals.
“It was more just kind of a fun distraction,” Bugenhagen said.
In the future, Ferrell said he hopes to pass the site down to someone so he can focus on other projects he has in the works. But for now, if he officially launches the application, Ferrell said he hopes to be able to remain sensitive to the ongoing situation.
While the coronavirus pandemic has brought an increase in internet usage, Ferrell said, he wants to keep the current crisis in mind when making decisions regarding his application.
“I don’t really want to take advantage of a tragedy,” Ferrell said.