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May 21, 2013

All invited to UChicago Events

You don’t have to be popular to know what’s going on around campus anymore, thanks to the new Web site UChicago Events.

The site lists University of Chicago Facebook events, from Friday night frat parties to Off-Off Campus shows to academic panels, all in one place. The team behind the site, second-years Victor Kung, Daniel Yu, Shaan Sapra, and David Campillo, have seen the site take off with nearly 700 subscribers since it launched last month.

Kung said the idea for UChicago Events came to him around January, after he became frustrated with the burdensome process of finding out about campus events through listhosts and social media.

“On Facebook, you’re really reliant on who invites you and your social circle,” Kung said. “But what if we leveraged Facebook and utilized everyone’s social networks and put all these events in one centralized spot?”

The public nature of Facebook events provides a free and accessible resource for a program to utilize and aggregate, according to Kung.

Development of the program began in March and lasted about a month. Then the team invited students to subscribe and test its features. Campillo, the team’s marketer, said he believes the site is an asset to event-searchers and hosts alike. Users can browse by event type, like “Lectures” or “Fine Arts.” Clubs or programs looking for promotion can purchase space as a “Featured Event.” Kung said the current plan is to use the revenue to cover operating costs.

Kung contrasted his site with events.uchicago.edu, an aggregator site administered by the University, saying his student-run service does not have to worry about issues of liability or brand image.

“What we can do that I guess the University can’t do is that we have no problem going straight through the social network; we have no problem having all sorts of events going on, whether they’re school affiliated or student-created,” Kung said.

The team’s hopes for the site are high. Sapra looks forward to developing new features for a “second launch” in the fall that would incorporate feedback from current users. Kung sees the possibility of featuring local business promotions on the site and later expanding the program to other campuses.

“The beauty of this [program] is that it takes all this available information and organizes it in a way that’s never been done before… This is something we see as being useful on campuses all over the country,” said Kung. “But that’s still a few steps away. For now, we just want to make sure we maximize the user experience in our own school first.”

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