Karen Lin, Photo Editor

Yale alum Andrew Sipes ’85 has created an application designed to bring joy to Yale’s campus. 

The nJoy app seeks to connect people with the things that bring them joy, including events, sports and social groups. With the isolating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the app works to use its online platform to foster offline connections. Those who developed the app believe that such joy arises not only from attending events but from the human interactions and interpersonal relationships that come with them. 

“I think the most important thing in life is to connect with other people in the real world and connect with everything that the real world has to offer,” Sipes said. “I found that was lacking in universities and communities around the world everywhere that I visited.”

Sipes has been in engineering technology for over 20 years. But as a history major, Sipes graduated with a humanities-focused education, which he said aided in the entrepreneurial creation of the nJoy app.

“I think that the grounding in the humanities gave me a storytelling aspect that lets me imagine the way things could be used creatively and that certainly helped here where I felt like a platform could be used creatively…  to connect people,” Sipes said. 

The app first began in 2019 as a hyperlocal shopping app that connected residents to stores in their community. The app then grew to include travelers, and hotels began to distribute the app to tourists so that they could financially support the local businesses surrounding them. 

While this version of nJoy continues to function in cities such as Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, the app’s scope has since evolved to include the college and university setting. At Yale, the first university to which nJoy has expanded, the app locates events across campus and lists them in one place.

“We decided to move into universities because students of universities, as well as administrators and graduate students, really needed a way to connect within the same sort of fashion but around different sorts of things,” Sipes said. 

Sipes felt that Facebook once served college students and communities well by connecting them to events around campus. However, as Facebook began to lose its hold on college students, a void developed, and many other social media platforms failed to fill it, Sipes said. 

For recent Yale graduates such as Emilie Kilfoil ’21, the mission of nJoy sparked her desire to work on the app’s development. 

“This really resonates with me… When you think about your experience at Yale and the times that you felt the most joy and the most fulfilled it seems very consistently that [it] always involves being with other people and sharing experiences with others,” Kilfoil said. 

Kilfoil has also worked to recruit students to help with the growth of the app, such as Axel de Vernou ’25. As a marketing intern, de Vernou has helped upload events from separate organizations into the main nJoy database, created flyers to boost publicity and showed the app to peers to gather feedback on various stages of development. 

Moving forward, Sipes and the nJoy team hope to further publicize the app and increase the number of users on the platform.

“I can see nJoy as being a spectacular app if more students are using it,” Vernou said. “The app [will reach] its full potential once every member of the community is on it and you have one central hub where all Yalies are sharing what’s going on and trying to get everyone to participate in events and activities.”

nJoy is available on the Apple App Store. 

CAROLINE CHEN
Caroline Chen covers Dwight Hall and community service. She is a first year in Silliman College majoring in English.