Harry Dang / Sun Staff Photographer

Crowds hanging out on Libe Slope after classes were officially cancelled on March 13.

April 15, 2020

Cornell Trio Works To Cure Quarantine Loneliness

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When Sam Brickman ’21, Jordyn Goldzweig ’21 and Alissa Lai ’22 realized the isolation people were feeling, they began working on an idea to combat the loneliness and boredom during these uncertain times.

The three computer science students created the website “Quarantine Buddy,” a platform that aims to introduce strangers to each other.

“We wanted to make something to help people have a human connection, interact with others and give them something to do while still in quarantine,” Brickman said.

The trio pulled two all-nighters in a row with a desire to get the platform up and running as fast as possible.

“The process of actually building it has been a really good way to do something productive, stay positive and have an impact on other people’s lives,” Goldzweig said.

When someone logs onto Quarantine Buddy, they are asked what they have been doing during quarantine so far and what they are looking for in a buddy. Their answers are then run through an algorithm that matches them up with the best-suited buddy.

The website then sends users a text introducing the buddies and naming what the pair have in common. Each weekend, the platform sends out new matches.

“This past weekend, we did our first round of matchings and since then we’ve had many more people sign up, just from people sending it to their friends,” Goldzweig said.

Quarantine Buddy is bringing together unlikely matches, with people ranging from ages 18 to 80 years old, from over 15 countries and spread across six continents. The platform has already brought together hundreds of matches.

Past users have been looking for someone to play video games with, do yoga over Zoom or play songs together on the guitar.

“We’ve noticed that some of the best matches have been people of different age groups, like a 77-year-old and a 20-year-old, because we’ve realized they’re going through similar situations,” Brickman said.

Despite the platform’s name, the creators expect it to still be useful after social distancing measures are lifted.

“People have been more socially isolated than they ever have in recent years,” Brickman said. “People are glued to their phones and social media and there is less of a culture of going out and meeting new people. The social isolation measures are only exposing and emphasizing that — as opposed to creating a new problem.”