Seniors launch Campus Advice

The unavailability of desired information led Jeff Rosen ’11 and Doug Von Kohorn ’11 to found their website Campus Advice.
The unavailability of desired information led Jeff Rosen ’11 and Doug Von Kohorn ’11 to found their website Campus Advice. Photo by Sharon Yin.

Two seniors are taking on all of Yale’s questions.

On Feb. 15, Jeff Rosen ’11 and Doug Von Kohorn ’11 launched the website Campus Advice, an online question-and-answer resource for Yale students. Yalies can ask a question on any topic and receive peer feedback. After realizing there was no venue to ask the entire Yale community for advice, Rosen said he began brainstorming ideas for a website his sophomore year. But the original plan was not put into action until this fall, when Rosen, a mathematics and philosophy major, first discussed creating the site with Von Kohorn, his friend from high school, who is majoring in computer science.

“Yale students just have collectively the most unbelievable knowledge base and experience base,” Rosen said. “We wanted to put a place together where everyone can access that.”

After working on the site for about four hours a night for three months, the co-founders launched it in February.The two designed the site together, but Von Kohorn is responsible for the programming, while Rosen takes care of the business and marketing aspects.

“If you have this question and you really need advice, you have a few options, but I really think none of them are great,” Rosen said. “You can ask your friends, and your friends might happen to be able to help you out, but they might not.”

The site allows anonymous comments, permitting users to freely talk about any topic and to tap into all of Yale, said Rosen.

Before this site was launched, Rosen said resources such as Yahoo Answers! and Facebook are unlikely to give users accurate answers or feedback was limited to their networks.

“I think it’s just a great resource,” Von Kohorn said.

After campus-wide e-mails about the site launch, Rosen and Von Kohorn have seen an increase in registered users. As of last Saturday, there were more than 130 registered users.

Still, Rosen said the number of registered visitors does not reflect the site’s total traffic. With more than 2,750 page views per day and over 400 questions, answers and comments, the site is gaining momentum, he said.

Four of five students interviewed had heard of Campus Advice, but only two of the five said they had visited the site to see what it was.

Two studentssaid they doubted the reliability of anonymous commentors.

“I think there is no accountability in an anonymous-based system,” Olivia Schwob ’14 said.

Although the site is less than a month old, Rosen said he and Von Kohorn plan to continue managing the site after they graduate.

“I don’t see why we would take it down after we leave,” Von Kohorn said. Rosen added he that he believes the Yale community could sustain the site on its own.

Though Campus Advice does not currently make a profit, the co-founders’ close friends and relatives suggested they incorporate the website in order to have legal protection should any issues arise, Rosen said. As co-founders, Von Kohorn and Rosen have equal shares in their corporation.

After graduation this May, Von Kohorn will work as a backend engineer on the front page for Yahoo! and Rosen plans to be a math teacher with Teach For America. Both will be in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Antonia Woodford contributed reporting.

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