On Oct. 15, President Clark G. Gilbert and his wife Christine hosted the first BYU-Idaho Date Night.
President Gilbert said 3,000 students RSVP’d to the event. An estimated 3,500 students attended.
“This has to be the largest group date ever,” President Gilbert said.
Many students raised their hands to acknowledge that they were on their first date with their partner while attending date night.
“One of the hopes we have for tonight is that there will be a culture at BYU-Idaho of guys asking girls out and girls asking guys out, and going out and getting to know each other,” President Gilbert said.
Courtney Sandys, a sophomore studying early childhood/special education, said she thinks date night will help improve the dating culture at BYU-I.
“The way they explained it, it’s like dating reform,” Sandys said. “Everyone here’s so worried about getting married that they forget that first, you have to get to know someone before you’re getting married. I feel like it just put everything into perspective.”
President and Sister Gilbert shared pictures and experiences from their dating life before they were married.
“Since I still don’t know very much about President Gilbert, I really enjoyed hearing him and his wife’s story about their dating and courtship before they decided they wanted to get married,” said Eric Uptain, a junior studying business management.
Carsten Ashton, a junior studying exercise physiology, said he enjoyed learning more about President and    Sister Gilbert.
“It was cool how they told us about themselves and how they’re not perfect because I think sometimes we’re a little bit hard on ourselves,” Ashton said.
President and Sister Gilbert emphasized the importance of going on dates that are spiritually uplifting.
They shared their experience of giving service together in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program while they  were dating.
“If you’re going out with good people, it inspires you to be your best,” President Gilbert said.
Dating activities should invite self-respect and the companionship of the Holy Ghost, according to the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet.
Sandys and Ashton both said they were spiritually uplifted by attending   date night.
“It was really cool to hear the counsel of President and Sister Gilbert because they’ve been through everything we’re going through,” Sandys said.
Ashton said he felt that date night helped remind him what things should take priority in his life.
“Sometimes we get so caught up in school and other things that maybe we forget to do the little things that can make us better,” Ashton said.
Uptain said dating is important because it allows people to get to know their possible future               eternal companion.
“Sure, you can go and get married to someone, but if you don’t know them, is it worth it?” Uptain said. “If you want to go in the right direction, start dating people.”
Sandys and Ashton both said they think date night should be held regularly.
“The thing I learned the most about dating is that it doesn’t matter that there’s other people on your mind,” Uptain said. “The point of dates is to show interaction with other people and to be examples.”
Uptain said going on dates may encourage other people to date as well.
“It makes other people want to date, too, because they think, ‘Hey, this guy can do it. Why can’t I?’” Uptain said. “The more you date, the more other people are going to date, too.”
Uptain said he thinks President Gilbert’s goal in hosting date night is to encourage students on the path to eternal companionship and the blessings that come with it.
“In marriage, you meet your potential together over time,” President Gilbert said.
President Gilbert said he and his wife have continued to go on dates through their marriage.
“It’s still important, after you get married, to date,” President Gilbert said.
President Gilbert said dating is a great way to get to know others and  have fun.
“In the words of Shia LaBeouf, ‘Just do it,’” Uptain said. “Just date.”