In today’s world, social media seems like a saturated field. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram number their users in the billions and bring in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, according to the companies’ websites. Great success in business often causes great scrutiny, and such criticism has come about on social media, mostly revolving around privacy concerns, mental health, and the increased reliance of people upon technology. However, at its roots, social media is simply a vehicle for interactions between people who cannot meet in person. This is what Campi aims to return to.
Campi is a mobile app developed by Michael Faris, CSOM ’23, with the express purpose of “developing a college experience that everyone can relate to.” Faris recalls walking through the large stairway in O’Neill Library, overwhelmed by both the sheer number of posters and the social compulsion to not look silly by standing in a hallway staring at posters for twenty minutes. Faris has developed Campi over the past year and describes it as a manageable and user-friendly version of this hallway, where one can view and sign up for clubs, activities, and on-campus events all from their smartphone. After living through the COVID-19 pandemic, he wants to “take everything missing from [his] college experience and put it into a single platform.” Clubs and other student groups, such as residence halls, can use Campi to have private and public discussions about group affairs, and the app also has a home page open to posts from the whole campus.
Campi features a marketplace where students can buy and sell objects, such as textbooks, sports equipment, or even Halloween costumes (for the moment). Campi also contains a unique service exchange, where students offer their skills, such as musical instruction or physics tutoring, in exchange for payment. The development team felt this was sorely needed on campus, with many exchanges of this kind being difficult to facilitate without a central platform to advertise them on.
The team of developers has also made significant efforts to bolster engagement in the Boston College community with their app, pledging a $5,000 campus grant for student organizations and clubs that apply to receive it. This is significant in the face of the Student Organization Funding Committee’s September announcement that they will be denying new budget requests for the semester. The grant can be applied for by contacting a member of the Campi team on behalf of one’s club. Bobby Wittman, CSOM ’24, the director of underclass affairs, also plans to visit student residence halls around campus and sponsor small-scale dorm events to promote Campi.
The team is aware of the obvious comparison of their app with Facebook, which was originally meant for college campuses but has since expanded to being available to anyone, with great success. In contrast to Facebook’s generic audience, Campi aims to provide specialized services run by college students for a user base of only college students. The team’s stated goal is to provide both “community and economy services” to the campuses where they operate. Madelyn Divino, MCAS ’23, the app’s director of market strategy, outlined how these services will eliminate “social waste” on campus: missed connections caused by simply being unaware of an activity that may have interested you. The team has already expanded access to Campi to six other college campuses, including Boston University and Florida State University, and they plan to reach out to more in the coming months.
Campi launched on app stores two weeks ago, and a Boston College email address is required to sign up.