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    Dating on Campus

    Fun, creative activities make college dating a pressure-free experience.

    Amy Adair

    Picture this: A guys' floor at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona dreams up a list of corny pick-up lines. Then, one by one, the hall mates knock on a girl's door. Each guy recites his line to the girl who answers and invites her to a movie. When this happened last year, 60 people ended up going on a group date.

    Or how about this: As an orientation game, freshmen at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, must ask at least three perfect strangers for their hands in marriage. Abby Timmer, a junior at Hope, says she met some of her best friends that way—even though no one accepted her proposals.

    Haven't had enough? Try this one: Every year, Grand Canyon University holds a beauty contest . . . for guys. Mr. Soccer, Mr. Basketball and others compete for the crown of Mr. GCU in the school's spoof of a traditional beauty pageant. All of the elements of a pageant are there—including a talent show, faculty judges and a sash for the winner.

    The fun doesn't end there. There are countless activities on Christian college campuses that help students enjoy a healthy, pressure-free dating scene.

    Good Traditions

    Dave McKinley, dean of students at Grand Canyon University, says male-female relationships are an important part of college life. Dave's mission of guiding students toward Christlikeness, academic success, and personal excellence includes their friendships and romantic relationships. "These relationships are the workshops of our community," he says. "The students are learning about life."

    Dave and other Christian college administrators say they try to create an atmosphere that helps students appreciate strong friendships. This helps students to have healthy dating relationships.

    College activity directors often come up with fun activities as part of this effort. And lots of dorms on Christian college campuses have brother and sister floors. They pray for each other, eat meals together in the dining commons, and plan fun social activities.

    Many campuses also have open hall hours. This means that during certain hours of the week or weekend, students of the opposite sex can visit each other in their dorm rooms. Each campus has rules for open hall. For example, most require that doors be left open.

    "We have open hall two nights a week," says Candice Canfield, a senior at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. "Guys and girls can just chill out. This time is important since we don't have homes and living rooms. It helps the students get to know each other better."

    Some colleges have a "Pick-a-Date" tradition. One year, Matt Kuiken, a senior at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, went on a "Pick-a-Date" with all the guys on his floor. Every guy set his roommate up with a date. Matt says the sometimes nerve-racking experience of going on a date was a little less stressful because the entire floor was being set up.

    Of course, orientation games are a great way for a freshman to meet new people. Abby Timmer from Hope College says Play Fair, the orientation game where she asked her new friends to marry her, helped her to loosen up and enjoy meeting guys in a comfortable environment. "It was fun because we were all acting like idiots!" she says.

    No Pressure

    Shortly after school starts, signs for banquets and formals pop up all over campus. But finding a date to these special events doesn't have to cause anxiety.

    At Grand Canyon University you can go to an auction and bid on a date for the annual Winter Formal. Guys and girls volunteer to be auctioned and agree to go to the formal with the highest bidder. The proceeds from the auction help keep the cost of tickets down.

    When it came to the dating game, I knew I'd be the big loser on campus.