Making Schools More Social: Harvard Student Creates Interactive Online Community for Local Collegiate Crowds Around the Country

Posted by erik devaney

Imagine a website that takes the best features of Eventbrite (events), Cramster (study group/community discussion), Craigslist (marketplace), Groupon/LivingSocial (deals) and Zumeo (jobs/internships) and combines them into an integrated, easy-to-use online community that caters specifically to local college students.

Connor Waterous, a student at Harvard University (Class of 2014), has made this groundbreaking idea an online reality.

Waterous is the founder and CEO of U4U, an interactive social community for local college students. U4U will soon have websites serving 11 regions, ranging from New York to Los Angeles.

“Over the past 15 months U4U has evolved drastically from the initial idea to what it looks like today,” Waterous told New England Post. “In fact, initially U4U wasn’t going to be a website at all, but rather an iPhone app providing the same online resources Harvard offers students, except in a mobile form.”

But over the course of last fall, U4U evolved in two distinct ways.

“First, we gradually gave U4U a more social, rather than academic, focus, adding features such as party listings, the student marketplace, and the community discussion forum,” said Waterous.

“Second, it quickly became clear that there was no need for U4U to be school-specific, and in fact, it could be far more useful as a city-wide network of campuses,” Waterous continued. “This way, students could sell textbooks, discuss campus issues, and find out about the latest late-night happenings across campus lines, allowing them to maximize the benefits of living in a true college town, like Boston.”

While there are websites out there that provide services similar to those provided by U4U, Waterous feels that the community U4U caters to – as opposed to the content it provides – is what sets his website apart.

Waterous used Facebook as an example:

“While Facebook has a similar Events section, whether or not you find out about a certain event is determined by whether or not you are friends with the organizer, or if you’ve been invited. In other words, while on Facebook you’re limited to the 500 people on your friends list, U4U expands this social sphere to the tens of thousands of college students in Boston, ensuring every student has the opportunity to find the best events.”

After successfully launching U4U in Boston last spring, Waterous is expanding into ten of the “largest and most concentrated college towns (and regions) in the United States.” These include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida and Minnesota.

“Over the next few months we’ll be looking to get as much feedback as possible from the new regions we are expanding to and go from there,” Waterous said. “While there are many opportunities for improving the site, any new feature at its core will be something which takes advantage of living in a college town, and ultimately benefits the student experience.”

Related posts:

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  2. Forgiving Student Loan Debt as an Economic Stimulus; What Does a Local Economist Think?
  3. Social Media Storm: The Best Online Sources For Tracking Hurricane Irene
  4. Should the Government Forgive Student Loan Debt? College Grads Say Yes; Economists Say No
  5. Former Babson Student Hopes to Change Local Fertilizer Industry

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Posted by erik devaney on Nov 4 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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