A new networking Web site is reaching out to college students with an enticing message; “Get On, Get Up and Get Out.”
The concept is simple. CollegeTonight.com allows students to gather information about events, nightlife and promotions within the campus and community. All college students are eligible to make an account with their college e-mail address for no charge.
And co-creator Zach Suchin feels the site is a good fit for University of Miami students.
“We make networks at campuses that have good geographic locations,” Suchin said. “The nightlife has to be alive and active and Miami is obviously known for that. UM is one of the most socially thriving universities in the U.S. There is great school spirit, tons of activities on/around campus, and some of the best clubs/bars in the world.”
The networking site was created by Suchin, a 2006 graduate of Emory University, and Jason Schutzbank, a junior at Emory.
With the motto in mind, Zuchin said: “We want students to get on their computer and gather the information, get up from their physical seat and then get out into the real world and make connections with people.”
Suchin originally conceived the site on a small server called Emory Nightlife, which he used to communicate with his friends about what was going on locally. Suchin said he also made deals with local bars and nightclubs so they could promote themselves.
“This way everyone knew what was going on that particular night. Soon around 65 to 80 percent of the campus population wanted to join the server,” he said.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote an article about Emory Nightlife and the word spread.
After Suchin graduated, Schutzbank decided to take over the server at Emory. Eventually the server became a Web site and it became so popular that it went global on Nov. 29, 2007.
Now bars and nightclubs pay $50 a month to have access to a campus. They advertise, post events and blogs on the site.
“Local businesses have a very interactive relationship with students,” Schutzbank said. “Bars and clubs pay to post and blog about events and specials. This essentially eliminates the promoter aspect in the nightlife industry.”
Freshman Curt Hineline had never heard of CollegeTonight.com but he thinks the idea sounds great and would prefer it for party planning. “This site sounds really cool,” Hineline said. “It sounds like a great way to know where all the hot spots are.”
But what would make someone join CollegeTonight.com instead of MySpace or Facebook?
“First of all MySpace has no privacy at all,” Suchin said. “Facebook is great and all but the experience is all at a screen of a computer. On the other hand, [CollegeTonight.com] is a social sidekick, it enhances the experience. It is not the experience itself. The experience comes when you go outside your dorm and meet people at events in the community.”
As for security, CollegeTonight.com has privacy controls. It only accepts .edu email addresses when you signup to make an account.
According to Suchin, “Our main concern is everyone’s safety. John Douglas, one of the foremost FBI agents in the world, is the security advisor. He is an extremely instrumental part of this social network and was a catalyst from the beginning of our project.”
CollegeTonight.com, it is hoped, will become a dominant social networking tool on the Internet.
“Our goal is to facilitate the college process for students,” Suchin said. “We want to spread the word of what is going on. We feel really excited and humbled to be part of this huge project.”
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.