New Friend Request … Columbia College

By Benita Zepeda

It’s the start of a new semester and after a week of figuring out classes and meeting new people, tech savvy students are trying to seek out their classmates on the popular social networking site Facebook.

But names are often forgotten and remembering what class a new friend is in can be a hazy proposition. That is where Columbia College Chicago on Facebook comes in handy.

This fall, Columbia became one of the founding partners of the “Schools on Facebook” application created by Inigral, a company that implements higher education institutions into Facebook. This application allows students who have a Facebook account to link it to their Oasis accounts in order to find other students on the social networking site.

“It makes it very easy to locate other Columbia students,” said Matthew Green, director of Online Student Communications. “We know that students are always looking for each other on Facebook, and this will just do it automatically for you.”

Green wants students to be aware that this semester will serve as a trial run for the application.

“Because this is a new application, we are taking all of the fall semester to sort of say this is our beta phase,” Green said. “Please adopt it, give it a shot and let us know what you think.  Then we’re going to work out the kinks and in the spring, this will be ready to go.”

Columbia is one of the first 10 schools to purchase the application from Inigral, joining other institutions such as Arizona State University, Michigan State University and Abilene Christian University, a school that is consistently ranked No. 1 in the nation for using technology, according to Michael Staton, CEO of Inigral.

Staton said the idea for creating the application spawned from his love of education.

“Education has always been one of my major passions,” Staton said.  “I wanted to build something really useful for education.”

The application replaces Facebook’s old “Courses” feature that allowed students to manually put their classes on their profile page.  However, if the classes weren’t spelled exactly the same or the instructor’s name was spelled incorrectly, it would be difficult to find classmates.

Not only will the new application help students find classmates, it will also have features that allow them to find other students involved in various student organizations and serve as a platform to ask questions related to class.

At first, the application will only be open to students, but will eventually become available to faculty members who also have Facebook accounts. Green said this will happen as more students begin to use the program.

The program is a third-party application, so Facebook is not directly involved with it.  The only part of anyone’s Facebook profile that will be viewed through the application will be their profile picture, so there are no privacy settings to be managed or clever statuses to be updated.

“[Facebook and Schools on Facebook] are totally separate worlds, so I would put up a classmate-friendly profile picture,” Staton said.

The success of this application will lie in the hands of students. It is network-based, so as more students get involved, the application can work to its full potential.

Seniors John Gietl, an art & design major and Anthony Powell, a film & video major, think that the program will catch on with students at Columbia.

“My favorite part about Facebook when it first came out was the actual courses [application] that you could say what classes you were in,” Gietl said. “Then [Facebook] got rid of that application [where] you could see who was in your classes, so I think it would be a good tool to use.”

Powell agreed, but said he thinks that current seniors might not use it as often while nearing the end of their college careers.

“I think people will use it, especially freshmen and sophomores that are kind of new to college Facebook,” Powell said.

To add the Facebook application, visit