Cuffing season may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on love. While many students may turn to Instagram DMs, Tinder, or the highly underused MacEwan Anonymous Acknowledgments, Admit, and Confessions Facebook page in hopes of finding the cutie they have been crushing on all semester, nothing beats an old-fashioned rom-com-worthy meet-cute.
Take inspiration from these three couples who prove that “the spark” can be found even within the walls of MacEwan University.
Chevy and Madison
Madison Twa came out as lesbian a week before she met her boyfriend. She had also sworn off dating and “wasn’t looking for anything.” Chevy Halvorson, on the other hand, was looking for love.
The pair actually had crossed paths years earlier in high school when they were both working at McDonald’s. “We worked at McDonald’s, but we never talked. We just knew of each other,” says Twa.
Then in October 2022 Halvorson spotted Twa sitting in the MacEwan cafeteria and walked up to her and asked if she remembered him. One thing led to another and the pair decided to grab lunch at The Canadian Brewhouse and ended up chatting for five hours.
Twa recalls that Halvorson asked if she would be on campus again the next day (which would have been a Friday), and although she didn’t actually have classes, she pretended she did as an excuse to hang out with him again. They went or lunch the next day, and he officially asked her out for the following weekend.
They had more “predates” in the week leading up to their first date and became official quickly after.
Although busy with school and work, the pair keep the spark alive by prioritizing communication. Twa says, “we’re both very driven and school and work oriented…so a lot of our dates are just us studying together.” They also say they have similar attachment styles; if one is busy with school, the other will leave them alone. “We actually ghost each other all the time,” says Twa with a laugh.
When asked where they would recommend students find love on campus, Halvorson suggests Towers Pub. “It’s a little old-fashioned, but many people used to meet like that,” he says. Twa adds that volunteering can also help connect students, noting that she volunteered for the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) during her time at MacEwan and knows some couples who met that way.
Brendan and Molly
When Molly Staley met Brendan Leach, she was getting through a really bad breakup. Staley explains, “I was in a really low, confusing, ‘not knowing what was next’ phase of my life.” Leach had just transferred to MacEwan from the University of Alberta and says he was very single and “just trying to get a degree.”
“We first met in Towers,” Leach says. “I was there in between classes and I saw Molly… typing on her computer.” Leach and Staley are both amputees, and Staley is a partial hand amputee. “I was pretty impressed with how fast she could type,” says Leach.
After she left the pub that day, Leach asked around about her and even slid into her DMs with the bad fortune of landing in her “other” mailbox, so Staley didn’t see his message until a week later. When she finally did find the message, she was excited at the prospect of meeting a fellow amputee and another student her age.
They started talking and soon after the pair agreed to meet at Towers for what was supposed to be a coffee before class. “Coffee turned into having drinks (and) we didn’t make any of our classes,” says Staley. “We stayed at Towers till they closed. We just had a little table by the windows and just kept ordering drinks. We didn’t want to do anything else.
They didn’t hang out for about a year and a half after that first date but reconnected right before the pandemic hit. They quarantined together and soon realized that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with each other.
“It came about quite randomly,” Staley says about their engagement. One of the things they enjoyed doing together during quarantine was making dinner and then watching Jeopardy and trying to yell out the answers before the contestants would. One night like this, “we were having so much fun and laughing, and I just looked at Brendan and I knew,” says Staley. “So I blurted it out — I just asked him if he would marry me — and he said yes!”
After ring shopping, Leach also proposed to Staley on a whim at Boston Pizza because he “couldn’t contain (his) excitement.”
The pair live together and make a point of spending lots of quality time together, even if it’s just doing simple things. “Brendan and I get along so well, so any downtime, like when we cook together or set time aside to watch a movie, we already know it’s going to be nice.”
Hayden and Claudia
Hayden Burnett says he “had sworn off girls” when he met Claudia Sabourin.
They were both living at MacEwan Residence, and Burnett was a resident assistant running a dodgeball team that Sabourin decided to join. She didn’t know anyone but met Burnett at the second game and thought he was cute.
Burnett invited Sabourin to come to a study session not long after. “There were a bunch of people at the start, but it cleared out really fast,” says Burnett. “It was just Claudia and I eventually, and we just ended up talking for hours.” Even though Sabourin had a midterm the next day, she stayed up until one in the morning with Burnett.
He asked for her number that night, and Sabourin says, “I gave it to him and he was so nervous that I gave him the wrong number that he texted me before I left the room.”
The rest is history.
Burnett and Sabourin both graduated with degrees in sociology and had a baby girl in 2021, which is when they started talking about getting engaged. “Everything that we’ve ever done, whether when we started dating or even moving in together, it’s always just been a mutual decision,” explains Sabourin.
One night after Sabourin put the baby to bed, she walked into the bedroom, and Burnett said he wanted to officially propose. Sabourin says, “he knows me really well and knows I’m picky, so he didn’t have a ring because he wanted me to pick one out.”
Their wedding was supposed to happen on New Year’s Eve, but the venue they booked went bankrupt, so they had to postpone. However, the couple soon decided they were tired of waiting and eloped on a Tuesday this past February.
When asked what advice they would give to students wanting to find love, Burnett says, “don’t try too hard and just be yourself.”