“You come on any time,” Benkendorf said from Sunrise, Fla. “I’ve got a dog you can play with. I’ve got a spare room. Anytime you need a vacation. If they close you down again, Stacie, you’re welcome.”
Weldon and Benkendorf have never met in-person, but over the past four months they’ve developed a friendship after matching with each other on a website. Quarantine Buddy, founded by two Cornell University students in April, matches people from around the world based on their background and interests, and they meet virtually.
The website has helped more than 50,000 people — spanning all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries — build friendships while stuck at home.
“We kind of realized how lonely and isolating this can be for so many people,” said Jordyn Goldzweig, a Quarantine Buddy co-founder. “The pandemic itself really brought out the fact that a lot of people are isolated, and even though we have technology, people aren’t utilizing it to meet other people. We really wanted to do our part.”
In March, Goldzweig and co-founder Sam Brickman left Cornell for their respective New Jersey and New York homes due to the coronavirus outbreak. A few weeks later, the junior computer science majors met with one of their professors, Pam Silverstein, on Zoom. After discussing a project, Silverstein expressed how thankful she was to speak with someone, because she hadn’t left her house in about a week.
Goldzweig and Brickman have worked on multiple projects together, including an application last year called “Zing” that connects classmates. They expanded that idea to assist people in situations such as Silverstein’s.
They spent two all-nighters shaping the website, staying awake on coffee and electronic dance music. They created a survey with nine questions that allows users to customize what they are looking