The feeling of stepping onto a campus surrounded by more than 40,000 unfamiliar faces can be intimidating. No matter how many years one has spent on Michigan State’s campus as a student, interacting with someone new occurs often. However, meeting people who share the same interests and hobbies can sometimes be challenging. On a campus of thousands, getting connected and staying connected with your peers is the best approach to meeting the people who are most like you, forming long-lasting friendships and potentially creating valuable networking opportunities.
Conecter is a social app that allows students to interact with people who like to participate in similar events and activities. Specifically, Conecter seeks to bring students together in a safe, efficient and spontaneous fashion. On the app, students are able to create events for any activity they want such as studying, working out, grabbing a bite to eat, etc. Once the event has been created, other app users are able to participate in the events, dynamically connecting those with similar wants and interests on such a large campus.
Brittney Urich, an MSU professional writing graduate, and Zoe Zappitell, a junior at MSU majoring in professional writing came up with the idea for Conecter in January of last year.
“I texted Brittney, ‘I want to make an app that helps improve the lives of college students,’” said Zappitell. “Brittney was immediately intrigued by the idea. Once we solidified our goal to help students meet others, we brainstormed ways to go about this. Brittney and I decided that an effective and convenient event feed would be the ideal way for students to meet for designated activities. Meeting for activities, instead of meeting to get to know one another made this a platonic and safe platform.”
Conecter is a casual way for students to reach out that allows them to interact with new people in a setting completely within their element.
“The development process itself has been very hands-on for us,” said Urich. “We created the original designs for every page of the app last year. They have changed throughout the process, but we’ve gotten to watch them change and be there to change them. We’ve been testing different aspects of our app every step of the way and asking students to test it for us as well.”
Urich and Zappitell have found that creating an app in addition to being full-time students can be difficult. While Urich is now a graduate, both she and Zappitell were students during the entire startup process.
“When Zoe and I first started out, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We’re the accountants, the salespeople, the marketing team and the managers,” said Urich.
Creating an app requires a lot more behind the scenes work than most people realize, and Conecter has essentially become another full-time job for the girls as they face new obstacles and new adventures every day. “You have to be prepared to work outside of your comfort zone,” said Urich.
The work that Urich and Zappitell have put into building Conecter is both admirable and reflective of the mission of this app. The girls took a leap and tried something new that has introduced countless opportunities for them. Similarly, Conecter encourages students to step outside their comfort zone by interacting with new people and forming new friendships while doing the things they enjoy.
“Now, I see us on the homepage of MSUToday or I hear President Simon mentions us, and I couldn’t feel more satisfied with our decision to take a leap and build Conecter,” said Zappitell.
Currently, Conecter is the only app on the market that specifically connects college students with each other for both impromptu and planned events. This app is something that will benefit all students on campus who are looking to interact with their peers, and it will be particularly helpful for new students looking to make friends.
Conecter is scheduled to be available for download in the iTunes app store on March 16, 2016 and available for Android users in mid-April.
Emily Murray is a senior majoring in professional writing and minoring in public relations. She loves fashion, especially writing about it, and enjoys working with VIM Magazine, CollegeFashionista and keeping up with her own blog, From Me to Hue. Emily is also a member of the MSU Dance Club.