Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Need for Better Campus Calendaring

As a student at a typical university, the college years are at times overwhelming.  Students spend years exploring various disciplines, gaining knowledge and experience, and ultimately trying to decide what to do with their lives post-graduation.

With the stress of schoolwork ever-present, the last thing students need is confusion and ambiguity in their non-academic lives.  Most campuses offer a plethora of opportunities outside of classes for relaxation, pleasure, intellectual engagement, and debauchery.  These activities, and the time alotted to them, are what make the college years so great. However, with so many activities to choose from each day, even choosing how to have fun can be overwhelming.

There may be as many as 200 events happening on a campus any given day, hosted by various organizations, that encompass every conceivable activity.  On most campuses, there is no centralized place where campus events are listed.  Just finding out what's going on is a cumbersome chore that requires asking around and often guessing where your friends and acquaintances might be.

I graduated less than two years ago.  When I was in school, there was a single student center that was home to literally thousands of flyers each week.  Walls of colored paper, unsortable, uncategorized, and without any indication of their legitimacy or who might be going.  I found it to be useless.

Even keeping in touch with the clubs, teams, and fraternities I cared about was difficult.  I just wanted to be kept in the loop with the upcoming events from all these groups in a simple way, and to know who might be going to each.  To do so, we relied on e-mail lists called listservs, closed google groups, and a messy facebook events system.

Most of the time, if I got an e-mail or facebook invite about an event, I forgot (or was too lazy to) transcribe it to my calendar.  More often than not, I missed the event.  I wasn't so excited about them to begin with, because I had no idea who else was going, or what people were saying about it.

In building Planga, we sought so solve these problems by providing a centralized campus calendaring system.  Students can find out what's happening on a given day based on how many of their facebook friends are going to a given event, how popular it is, or by what people are saying about it.  They can also effortlessly stay in touch with the groups they care about by syncing calendars directly with these groups.  Lastly, it's easy to see what groups your friends are a part of and what events they have coming up.

We're really excited to go live with Planga this week, after nearly two years of development.  Stay tuned for updates.