Simon Fraser University is known to be a commuter school, where spirit and community can be hard to find. For some students this leaves few chances to meet new people, and makes it easy to become lost within the campuses’ large population.
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However, one undergrad, Brian Park, recognized this situation as an opportunity to help students build connections, through the utilization of his programming skills. “I just felt like in today’s day and age, with all of this software that is available; why not use technology to solve the problem?” he noted.
Thus, Brian’s solution to the limited campus social life came in the form of SkaleFree, a website he designed and created, solely for SFU students.
The site boasts both a “Find People” page where users can create “findposts”, and a “Share Thoughts” page were they can create “wallposts”. Findposts are meant to bring students together, perhaps to bond over a shared interest, or to study for an upcoming midterm. Whereas the “wallposts” serve as a way for students to share whatever is on their mind, from confessions to random thoughts.
Once another user comes across a post they can then reply by sending a message to a personal inbox. From there the conversation can continue, with the end goal being that students meet in-person off of the site.
Park’s idea is certainly innovative, with his inspiration for SkaleFree, stemming from his own experience at the university. “My first semester at SFU was my most fun semester,” Brian stated, as he happened to form valuable friendships with a group he could do everything with – including eat lunch, join clubs, and even play his favourite video games. This definitely added to his university experience, and today Park describes this first-semester as “magical”
Yet, in later semesters he found that as people “diverge”, it can be a challenge to know exactly what commonalities you share with your classmates. “I just feel like the way you could potentially meet people at SFU is kind of inefficient,” Park said.
Therefore, Park hopes that SkaleFree can help others find friendships like his, in his first semester. The way he plans to do this, is by integrating SkaleFree into SFU’s culture, something he has already had success doing, as he has built up a number of users.
Of course, his success is the result of much hard work, “I put a lot of energy into it last semester,” Park said. As many universities struggle with just passing courses, one can only imagine the pressure of maintaining such a site. Although, Park remains humble about his website, describing it as a “romantic” endeavor, “and one he had to complete as he “felt like SFU needed it.”
Are you an SFU student interested in signing up? Visit SkaleFree at https://www.skalefree.net/
Written by: Kerri J