Long gone are the Facebook’s “wall-to-wall” days when it was a simple yet elegant university networking tool to chat and catch up with the people we just met on campus. These days, pictures of cats, people’s meals, their daily rambling, things we might not necessarily care about flood the newsfeed. All these nagging moments leave a deep void for a network where we can easily find and connect with other students who are in the same classes or match our interests. This is where the latest location-based iPhone app Uni+ steps in. It is not meant to replace the existing social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Rather, it helps users find and discover others before moving those contacts over to other social media platforms.
Less formal than LinkedIn and far less information sharing than Facebook, Uni+ is a mobile app that allows you to find nearby classmates and alumni from your college or university, providing a safe and fun way to connect with new acquaintances in your area. By providing a local community where people can post social activities, or find things they’re looking for within their network, Uni+ fosters the same spirit you felt in the dorms on the first day of freshman move-in. Based on profile information and location that you enter, users are matched to those who are similar to them in their proximity. People can discover others from their school year, the classes they are taking, areas of study, industry, hometown, activities, and interests. Currently, Uni+ is the only mobile app for meeting new people that is strictly university and mobile based, ensuring security by verifying users through their university email address or official Facebook network. This offers a stark contrast to other location-based social discovery apps which are flooded with random and irrelevant users with unverified profiles and untruthful personal information.
The inspiration came when Alexandria Sun, Cornell’11 and Yang Han, a graduate of University of Toronto, first moved to New York City after graduation and they started talking to their friends about the experience of meeting others in a new city/environment. They found that many people, just like themselves, wanted to connect with others from the same university, whether for networking, meeting new friends, job leads and dating. Unfortunately, most universities only have a few formal alumni gatherings or charge high alumni club membership fee. Even after these hurdles, the experience of striking up conversations and trying to find those who share a few things in common with you can be very overwhelming and time-consuming. To make the process of finding people with the same passions and interests, the app Uni+ is thus created.
So far, Uni+ had a “soft launch” in mid-March, most notably at the University of Toronto, Cornell, and NYU. News of the app’s offerings have been spreading primarily through word of mouth and Facebook marketing, helping Uni+ land a few hundred users only a couple of weeks into its launch, gaining new users and growing everyday. They’re excited to continue improving their codes this summer in order to bring you a better app when you come back to school in the fall! Also expected this summer is the release of the Android based version of the app so that anyone with a smart phone can participate! They will also be coming out with additional features such as letting users create and join communities which would complement the current group chat function.
The ability to be anywhere and find classmates around you makes networking and socializing much more convenient. On campus, the app could have an endless list of uses, from allowing student groups to post events to students advertising pick-up games on the quad. With a large base of users, Uni+ will provide an unparalleled way to connect with classmates and make new connections no matter where you are.
For more information, check out www.uniplus.me