Yale students overwhelmed by the daily barrage of shows, parties and poetry readings on campus may have found an answer to their troubles in a new phone application.
Ublend has connected 1,130 Yalies with 144 student groups since founder Azzah Hyder ’16 brought it to campus in August. The application allows organizations to register events, which users can then see all in one location. The application’s Yale-specific focus make it a logical replacement for the now-defunct Campus Calendar during YCC’s summer website revamp, according to YCC events director Amour Alexandre ’17. The YCC, which announced their partnership with the app in a campus-wide email from YCC President Joe English ’17, plans to continue to advertise the app to students.
“As many students recognize, Campus Calendar is not effectively integrated with all facets of campus,” Alexandre said. “I feel that the idea of an app that is accessible to students with smartphones will increase the number of students that are simply aware of events thrown by student groups, not only YCC.”
Founded by students at Oxford University in October 2014, Ublend has spread to institutions in the United Kingdom and beyond, such as the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and the University of Pennsylvania. The app allows users to pick the school they attend and follow groups on that campus. Users can also browse events that are trending.
Despite the campus-tailored event feed, Ublend is open to the entire community — it does not require a Yale email address. Hyder, who brought the app to Yale after being contacted by a student at Oxford, said this is because the mission behind Ublend is to be all-inclusive. And, though the application lacks a GPS-locator, the user can select their location from a drop-down menu of several locations.
“As a freshman, you’re getting a lot of emails, but it’s hard to keep track of when these events are happening,” Hyder said. “[Ublend] is adding value to how people spend their free time.”
The 144 student groups currently signed on include a cappella groups, community service organizations and college masters’ offices, as well as the YCC. Although the YCC has only publicized one event on the app so far, Alexandre said all coming events will be announced through Ublend. In order to advertise this partnership, the YCC has uploaded a Ublend banner on its website and future Facebook event posts will direct students to the app.
English said he believes Ublend will help all groups attract more diverse crowds as it advertises events to all students on campus, rather than students on particular mailing lists. Meanwhile, Emma Dougall ’16, the business manager of comedy group Just Add Water, said she thinks the app will allow the group to reach more people.
“It will get our name out there to a new Yale crowd,” she said, adding that putting up posters to advertise events can be ineffective.
Just Add Water technology manager Josh Isenstein ’16 added that he registered the comedy group because the app seems to have a lot of momentum, but also said Just Add Water will continue to use posters and Facebook groups as its main modes of communication.
Yale’s Ublend ambassador Amen Jalal ’17 also said events are currently organized in a way that they can slip past the attention of interested students. Jalal said he believes that even nonprofits and consulting firms like McKinsey & Company could use Ublend to promote events and recruit Yale students.
Students interviewed said they were intrigued by the idea but expressed some doubts as to how widespread it would become.
“I think Ublend seems to have a lot of potential, but I’m interested to see how many organizations actually end up using it for their events,” Scott Hicks ’18 said.
The Yale Ublend team currently has eight members.