UW Tacoma’s First Gen Fellows hosted Valentine’s Day Speed Dating: Swipe Right for Success on Feb. 14. The event had treats, themed decor and a speed-dating style rotation to pair students with professors and staff from various departments to make connections outside of the classroom.
This is the second Swipe Right for Success event put on by First Gen Fellows. First Gen Fellows is a program on campus that provides support to those who self-identify as first generation college students. They host numerous events, workshops and sessions throughout the year to assist students in transitioning into the university lifestyle.
James Da, First Gen Fellows leadership development coordinator, wanted this event to be beneficial to students and to be a place for connection between students and faculty.
“Swipe Right for Success is intended to bridge the gap or ‘break the ice’ between students, staff and faculty,” Da said. “Research shows that having a connection with your professor(s) could make for a better classroom experience, help retain students and build networking skills. First Gen Fellows wanted to foster this connection by making it a fun event!”
Students chose ice-breaker questions from a fish bowl to ask and answer with the professor or UWT staff member they were paired with. Questions were a mixture of fun and career focused topics to break the ice and start a conversation.
“I am hoping that students realize that striking up a conversation with their faculty/staff is not intimidating and could actually be beneficial to them,” Da said. “I want professors and staff alike to also learn that our students are multidimensional and bring many talents to the table, aside from their academic skills.”
Da and his team plan to continue the Swipe Right for Success series as they had positive feedback from students who participated in their exit survey.
“I think with every Swipe Right that we host, more and more students and faculty are wanting a repeat of it,” Da said. “As a group, we’re being less hard on ourselves and using our mistakes for a better Swipe Right the following quarter. It’s amazing to see how much we have grown, in terms of interest, size and team dynamics since fall quarter.”
For more information on First Gen Fellows
and to see their upcoming events, visit
Sophia is a UWT senior double majoring in communication and arts, media, and culture with a minor in business administration. She is the director of the Little Gym of Puyallup and is a freelance writer for various local web and print magazines. Sophia enjoys spending time with her family, and friends and reading books.