Student Created App “Meetum” Aims to Promote Social Unity
Issue   |   Tue, 03/01/2016 - 23:55
Meetum
Meetum hopes to connect students through casual hangouts

Conor Brown ’16, Louie Reed ’16 and Patrick DeVivo ’16 have created “Meetum,” an app that more than a third of Amhert’s student population has downloaded, and one that hopes to shift Amherst’s social paradigm.

Meetum is intended as an app where students can share events and activities (“meetums”) with each other. Unlike Facebook events, “meetums” are intended to be more casual. DeVivo puts it as, “Impromptu social events or things like studying for a particular midterm or comps,” or “playing basketball, looking for two more guys, etc.”

Brown and Reed conceived of Meetum in the wake of Amherst Uprising.

“We realized that our campus culture is very confined to sports teams and clubs and cliques. It is not very inclusive, and there is a great sense of isolation. Meetum intends to change that,” Brown said.

Brown and Reed are both members of the hockey team, while DeVivo is the captain of the men’s crew team. All three recognized the problem of exclusivity at Amherst and sought to fix it. In fact, they even see it within themselves.

“Patrick is a great guy,” Brown said. “However, I don’t know if we ever would have met if we weren’t roommates [freshman year]. Meetum will hopefully help people find others outside of their bubbles.”

The three represent the core of Meetum’s message — there are like-minded people in the Amherst community who will never have the opportunity to meet. DeVivo, Brown and Reed only met by chance — through first-year room draw. Meetum hopes to take chance out of the equation, creating more opportunities for compatible individuals to meet.

If Brown and Reed were the visionaries behind Meetum, then DeVivo was the pragmatist who made it happen. DeVivo got his start working with code in fifth grade, and has “always had a boyish enthusiasm for making things and watching how fundamental pieces fit together to create a whole.” DeVivo created this app as a hybrid mobile app, which means it’s essentially a website wrapped-up in an icon. So far, the app has a few simple features, but he intends to add features to it regularly, to drum up excitement, and to also bolster its functionality. Beyond Meetum, DeVivo also intends on continuing to write code after he graduates.

There is some concern that students may not buy in to Meetum — meaning that, while they may join it and post various “meetums,” they will not actually go to events that they are not comfortable with, and generally will stay in the bubbles that they are accustomed to. However, the creators dismissed this idea. “It takes effort to branch out,” Reed said. “It’s always scary, but Meetum will just give students more opportunities to be sociable.” He added that the overarching idea behind Meetum is to let students “create the culture they want.” “It is on the students to make something out of Meetum,” he said. “We just wanted to give them a platform.”

To join Meetum, all you need is an Amherst email and password. Registering is simple, and the interface is easy to navigate — even the most technologically adverse will have no problem. Currently you can find Meetum in the iPhone app store. And if you don’t have an iPhone, it is accessible on meetum.io.

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