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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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How Do Students Feel About the U’s Dating Culture?

U students talk casual dating, dating apps and dating as a queer person at the University of Utah.
Brenda Payan Medina
(Design by Brenda Payan Medina | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


Navigating the dating and sex culture here at the University of Utah can be difficult and daunting for students. For most, they would prefer to date casually and focus on their studies.

Business major Link Dephouse has noticed that the dating culture at the U is different than in his home state, Michigan.

“I have a lot of friends that go to school in the Midwest and are looking for committed relationships,” he said. “And here, a lot of the friends I’ve met here are doing the same thing as me, and not really looking for anything serious.”

Masen Carey, another business major, has had similar experiences. She added that the U’s casual dating culture helped her discover what she liked in a partner.

“I was in a three-year-long relationship, and when I got out of it my sophomore year, I learned a lot about myself, like what I find attractive in someone else,” she said. “There have been opportunities for me to date someone I really do like. But after getting out of a relationship, I realized that maybe I’m just too young.”

For chemistry major Max Hoelzer, dating hasn’t been the focus of their priorities and they don’t feel a cultural pressure to date.

“I have not focused on dating since I started here at the U,” Hoelzer said. “I feel like I’ve found a lot of people like that here, especially freshmen and sophomores, who are just trying to live their lives.”

Hoelzer added that they appreciate the culture surrounding dating at the U — especially compared to a place like Brigham Young University.

“I like that it doesn’t feel super ‘datey’ here,” they said. “For context, my family members have gone to BYU, so it’s always felt like college was for dating. And I like it because that hasn’t been my experience here.”

Dating Apps

Dating apps have seen an increase in use by younger adults. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 53% of U.S. adults ages 18-29 have used a dating app. About 20% of those surveyed found their current partner or spouse through the use of dating apps. The appeal of dating apps is clear for those who are searching for a partner.

However, Carey and Dephouse don’t feel the need to use dating apps.

“I think it kind of just makes it like you’re choosing from people,” Dephouse said. “I would like to go to the bars and approach someone cute and make it work from there. But for dating apps, you’re just scrolling through and picking. I don’t really like that.”

Carey said she would be more likely to use dating apps if she was looking for something more serious.

“I think our answer can change based on our age,” she said. “Because if I was out of college, I would definitely be on a dating app.”

However, Hoelzer said they “feel like a big part of the culture here is dating apps.”

They added last year they tried to date using the dating app Hinge.

“But I hated it,” they said. “I don’t connect like that, so that part (of the culture) didn’t really work out for me.”

LGBTQ+ Culture on Campus

Brynn Patterson, a graphic design major, said it’s hard for them to go up to people and, as a queer person, they rely on dating apps.

“As a queer person in Utah, it’s hard to find other queer people,” they said. “It’s hard to go up to people in person. … But it is also potentially scary, and I don’t make connections very well that way.”

Despite the difficulty of dating as a queer person, Patterson said, “I definitely chose to go here against other schools, because it’s more (LGBTQ+) friendly than other places.”

Hoelzer added that for the most part, they have felt welcomed here at the U.

“I have heard people make weird comments about girls dating girls, and I get really uncomfortable with those types of things. … But overall, I feel like most of the people here are really supportive,” they said.

They added that the LGBT Resource Center on campus has been a great place to connect with other queer people.

“I genuinely love it and the support they give,” they said. “I feel like it’s been really easy to find people who are similar to me and other queer people to have a community with so I’ve been very happy with the U.”


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About the Contributors
Ethan Udy
Ethan Udy, News Writer
(he/they) Ethan Udy is pursuing journalism as a career and for a degree. He seeks to spread information through objective writing and emotional photography work that will touch his audience. Outside of writing, he enjoys Utah’s unique scenery, writing music, landscape photography, and enjoying the company of good friends.
Brenda Payan Medina
Brenda Payan Medina, Copy Director, Design Contributor
Brenda is a rising senior close to finishing her materials science and engineering degree. She has spent most of her life in Utah, and enjoys editing for the Chronicle because she gets to learn about different events and people within the community that she would not otherwise have known about.

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