By Tanner Mondok
The Youngstown State University mobile app aims to give students the ability to connect with their peers, provide ways to get involved on campus and improve their social and academic lives. The app was made by Campus Recreation, Center for Student Progress and Student Activities.
When the app is opened, users are presented with a screen that displays options such as campus events, groups, clubs, academic support and dining services. Below these are several options for Campus Recreation and general information about YSU.
The app features a calendar that lets students add their courses or important due dates. This calendar can be viewed by added friends who have the app, but only with the user’s approval in their privacy settings.
In the community section of the app there are options for student feed, buying and selling, lost and found, housing, news and ridesharing.
In the student feed, students can communicate with each other and find tutors, ask for campus facility hours and discuss campus events. The student feed operates like a news feed website would, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Students also have the ability to send messages to their peers and customize their user profile.
Becky Varian, director of the CSP, was the one who reached out to the app company OOHLALA.
“I believe it was our student government rep that sent them my way and then Erin Driscoll [director of Student Activities] and I partnered to make it happen for our departments,” Varian said.
Varian believes that every student should download the app because anything that can get students engaged with their campus is a good thing.
“All research shows the more engaged students are [with the university], the more likely they’ll be successful in college,” she said. “They can engage with each other, with reps from campus departments and even with local businesses that provide discounts on the app.”
Director of Campus Recreation Joy Polkabla-Byers added the Rec section to the app.
“A lot of university rec centers were seeing students meeting each other through these apps and making workout buddies and that was one of the big things we wanted to see come out of having this app,” Polkabla-Byers said.
Polkabla-Byers says that she sees a lot in the student feed section of the app that involves people selling old books or students looking for other students to go to the Rec with. She also noticed someone asking if the Rec was open and said that an employee was able to answer the question for them.
“One of our staff got on there and said ‘yeah here are the hours,’” she said. “So I think it’s students helping each other but then campus itself is using it as well.”
Megan O’Neill, a campus recreation graduate assistant, worked closely with Polkabla-Byers when making the Rec section of the app.
O’Neill believes the app is a great resource for any student and should be utilized to get more involved on campus.
“Since we go to a commuter school I always hear ‘there’s nothing to do here,’ when really YSU offers so many programs and activities to their students,” O’Neill said. “The app is a great in-pocket resource for students to utilize and explore the many opportunities to get involved on campus.”
The YSU app is available to download via the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.