The integration of technology into higher education has changed the student experience at colleges and universities over the years and most recently, messaging apps are helping to create and foster communities across campuses.
In a Chronicle of Higher Education article by Zipporah Osei, she writes about African American students from different campuses who started group chats on the messaging app GroupMe. These chats often started with a simple agenda such as connecting with other African American students on campus, but then transformed into a space for event sharing, community and forums for activism.
One student Osei followed, Moneta-Kai Price, had trouble finding African American students to connect with in his first year at Rutgers University. He started feeling more comfortable once he met members of black fraternities and realized he wasn’t alone struggling to find other African American students on campus. In 2017, he started a group chat using contacts in his phone and quickly hit the 500-person cap set by GroupMe. He contacted GroupMe who raised the member limit to 750 for them. The group continues to expand, now sitting at almost 2,000 members.
Price’s story is not uncommon on other campuses across the country. At College Possible, we see the value of community and a sense of belonging for students. Our campus-based coaches connect with their students in creative ways, including utilizing technology like GroupMe. Helping students connect to campus and with other students is key to the success of College Possible’s Catalyze program. Ultimately, these connections may be the support a student needs to persist and ultimately graduate with their degree.