The true meaning of the Year of Engaged Leadership came to light after MSU received a Pure Gold award from Match.com. In a press release Match.com stated, “MSU’s Year of Engaged Leadership has succesfully brought single people together which matches the goals of our organization.”
One especially successful program sponsored by The Office of Activities and Engagement was BreaksAway, a week long volunteer program, over spring break. After long hours in a van traveling to various towns around Montana and serving communities together, 16 couples were formed, and five couples became engaged on this year’s BreaksAway trips.
“The students that go on the trip can get engaged and simultaneously be leaders in the MSU community, hence the Year of Engaged Leadership,” explained Manny Angel, program manager of the Office of Activities and Engagement.
There are usually around five or six BreaksAway trips to different locations. Since the students are picking the location of their choice, it is a guarantee that they already have a few similar interests with the participants on the trip.
The Match.com award brought varied opinions from students at MSU. Macy Luvewe, who became engaged to Mark Babikake on a BreaksAway trip to Ekalaka said, “All that MSU has done to bring people together this year really has meant the world to Mark and I. We met attending Year of Engaged Leadership lectures, and now we’ll be together forever.”
Not of all the students are in support of the university’s mission however. Talking about the BreaksAway trip, junior Rachel Frank said, “The trip is about volunteering and it should stay that way, having a love interest on the trip just distracts students. I want to be a leader, not an engaged leader.”
President Waldo Cruzaldo hailed the award as a success for Montana State. “If we can inspire one student to find love, to have higher quality romance, to believe in his or her potential as a spouse in a way and manner that he or she had never before imagined, then we have given them a quality education. The diploma might say a date, but [love] is a tool that never expires,” Cruzaldo said.
No word on whether Match.com competitor OkCupid will also endorse MSU. It’s rumored that the university plans to include “increasing the number of student romances” in its strategic plan to garner further support from matchmaking companies.