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The geo-location service can be an effective tool for uniting students with their schools
The location-based mobile service Foursquare has made a name for itself by making "cities easier to use and more interesting to explore," according to its website. And now, the platform, which launched in 2009 and boasts roughly 15 million users worldwide, enables college students to better connect with their campuses. With each check-in at a location, a person can learn information about a venue, find tips, or earn rewards, such as discounts or Foursquare badges (perks for using the application).
Some schools, such as the
"We just want to be where the students are so that we're accessible," he says. "[W]e work to provide an official, curated experience on Foursquare ... so that our campus locations are represented appropriately and showcase comments that have utility for other students using the service."
Sirena Larance, a student at
"I kind of felt exclusive because I know a lot of people don't really use Foursquare around here," Larance says. "But I feel a little more into the school now that I use it."
Here are a few ways students can use Foursquare to connect with their schools:
1. Dig into school history and explore campus tips:
When someone checks in at a venue (as locations are called on Foursquare), he or she is welcomed by a screen that includes tips, photos, and facts about the location. Some colleges are using these opportunities to share information about particular locations on campus.
"There's a lot of history here on our campus, and I think it's something a lot of our students don't necessarily know," Ralston says. "I think just putting those little bits out there makes people really connect with the university."
"I actually reached out to a lot of students to get their insider tips on campus -- [w]hether there's a quiet study spot that not everybody knows about or the best sandwich in one of our sandwich shops," says Jon Hussey, manager of web communications at AU, who oversees the school's Foursquare presence.
Glendale student Larance says that she began using tips on Foursquare to find events and suggestions for things to do on campus. Today, checking tips at a venue has become part of her daily routine.
2. Use Foursquare Lists:
Now, the university has six lists for students and alumni to use for self-guided tours of their choosing.
3. Earn rewards for engagement:
Any way a college or university can offer students something in exchange for using Foursquare is a "great idea," says Chloë Troia, a senior at AU and president of the university's
"I think any type of incentivized campaign will always increase [student] engagement," she says. "It's a really cool way to interact with the campus."
One such Foursquare campaign took place this fall at the
During the contest, students who checked in at certain venues received special prizes, such as free flash drives at the library and discounts on athletics tickets. The competition increased student engagement on Foursquare, KU's Henning says.
"We've really just seen more people reach out and interact with us on that service," he notes. "We're definitely responding to those check-ins with an added benefit when it's appropriate."
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