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Speed dating spinoff

Posted 12:19 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection to plan a lesbian and queer speed dating event set for Saturday, June 1. Read more →

The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection plans speed dating event, modeled after UWL sociology class event

Two successful senior speed dating events at UW-La Crosse have inspired and served as a template for The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection to plan a lesbian and queer speed dating event in June.

The event will start at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Cavalier Theater, 118 5th Ave N, La Crosse. A $15 fee, which will help support The Center, will be collected during check-in from 6:30-7 p.m. Registration is required in advance as space is limited. Register at

This event is for people 21+. This is a private event for just those who are registered.

It is a struggle for heterosexual adults to make new friends and find romance and even more so for the LGBTQ community, explains Samantha Riniker, who serves on the 7 Rivers LGBTQ Resource Center board and is helping to plan the event.

After hearing about UWL Associate Professor of Sociology Dawn Norris and her students who planned speed dating events for community senior citizens, Riniker reached out to Norris to learn how it was done. Norris provided the format, feedback and other details from her planning. Riniker says The Center has never planned an event like this before so Norris’ experience was valuable.

Speed dating is a fun and lively way to get to know a variety of interesting people through a series of five-minute chats.

“I hope the event will encourage people to not be shy or ashamed of who they are and to come out and support The Center and what we do,” says Riniker. “It will be a great opportunity for people within our community to meet others whether they are seeking a romantic or platonic relationship.”

Riniker adds that the buzz about the event so far has led The Center to begin planning another event for gay men in July.

Find the Facebook event at

UWL’s event is a national model for creating speed dating events

This isn’t the first time Norris has provided guidance related to speed dating events. After students in her Sociology of Generations & Age class planned the first event in November 2018, modeled after the “Age of Love” documentary directed by Steven Loring, the NYC-based film director contacted Norris. The two are now working together to develop a lesson plan to aid faculty at universities throughout the country in working with students to plan similar events.


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