Northeastern has hundreds of student clubs and organizations. Sixteen varsity sports teams. Countless academic events each week. And no single place to find what’s happening with all of them. Until now.
Go University is a hub for all things Northeastern. Created by friends Bennett Lovejoy and Alban Van Gaver, the website gathers every event hosted by the multitude of student groups, athletics programs, and academic departments on campus and presents them in one place. As of mid-November, more than 300 events had been posted to the site and roughly 4,000 students had used it.
“If you want to do something at Northeastern, you can,” Van Gaver said, “but figuring out all the information was really hard.”
It was a challenge Lovejoy and Van Gaver each experienced.
Lovejoy, who graduated in May, transferred to Northeastern and wanted to make the most of his time at the university. He attended the involvement fair that’s held each semester, and found a dozen clubs he wanted to join. He signed up for each one but quickly realized they each had separate ways of announcing events and meetings.
“Sometimes students would just post a picture on Instagram with all the information,” Lovejoy said. “Sometimes it was a Facebook group. Sometimes they used the college websites. It was impossible to keep up with.”
Van Gaver, an international student who studied in France before enrolling at Northeastern, encountered the same problem.
“At my other university there were only 2,000 students, and we were all part of the same Facebook group,” he said. “So whenever there was an event, you would just post about it and everyone would see. There’s over 20,000 students at Northeastern, so that is just not feasible.”
Last year, Van Gaver was mulling over the predicament while perusing the student-run startups at Demo Day, an annual event at which students pitch their business ideas to investors. He ran into Lovejoy, who was showcasing an idea that would become the seed of Go University.
In that moment, two strangers who both felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available to them decided to create a simple solution. Neither Lovejoy nor Van Gaver had any experience building a website (Lovejoy studied marketing and Van Gaver is studying innovation entrepreneurship), but they figured it out step by step.
“It was a lot of trial and error,” Lovejoy said. “We learned so much, though. It was almost like a separate class.”
A year later, Go University is up and running. Lovejoy and Van Gaver said that their ultimate goal is to bring the website to every college and university in the nation.
“This is something made by students, for students,” Van Gaver said. “We know it adds value to students’ lives. It’s amazing to see it grow.”
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