All College app brings community, students together

Finding new places to dine or be entertained can be difficult for new Tempe residents, but a new application and website named All College is coming to ease the desire to find the trendiest places around town.

After a night of brainstorming and being tired of living off Wendy’s and Whataburger meals, business and psychology junior Jon Cooke and business and communications junior Kijhan Thomas created the All College smartphone application for ASU students to better connect with the local community.

“We used to always talk about different business ideas, and the year after we met, we were discussing the fact we were always going to the same places to eat, spending the same amount of money and not having ways to find deals and new places to go to save money,” Thomas said.

Through the app, students will find deals in Tempe. They can also use it to buy, sell and trade textbooks and other items with other students.

“All College is a mobile app and website to connect students and businesses within the local college community,” Cooke said.

The application will also help students looking for employment and local deals, Cooke said.

“Also, students can find jobs throughout this site, because businesses will be able to post them, and a big part of this project is having local deals for restaurants (and) entertainment,” he said. “There are seven different sections, but there will be a wide variety of deals for students to save money.”

Businesses will be able to more easily connect with students looking for jobs through the application, Cooke said. Its main goal is to create a centralized community for businesses and students, he added.

Community research has been a large part of getting All College off the ground, and talking to students has been a key point of growing the idea, Cooke said.

“One of the big things we did was went out and did research and we talked to over 450 students,” he said. “We’ve talked to 50 to 75 businesses and … for businesses, one of the things we found out was they were paying too much to really get marketed there.”

The manufactures aim to be honest with the application’s users.

“We have a ratings and review section, which we also got from businesses and also from students as they were looking up businesses and they didn’t know who ‘Bball4’ was or ‘Tonythecoolguy,’ whoever these names were, and they didn’t trust them, and you find out Yelp is actually paying people to go on their site and write false reviews,” he said. “Our goal (is that) because it is exclusive to ASU students, it will only be ASU people (using it).”

Exclusivity will make the app work proficiently, Cooke said.

“Our main goal is exclusivity, more a trusted brand, and as we expand, … each university will have their own close-knit community,” he said.

Thomas said the app will be extremely user-friendly and will help collect information to make it better along the way.

The site’s exclusivity will rely on users signing up with ASU student email addresses, Thomas said.

Social networks will be integrated into the system to allow students to easily pass information along to their friends about the best places in town to visit, and the application will have a forum for users to consult with each other, Thomas said.

“There will be Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest integration,” he said. “But with that the goal isn’t to just be mentioned on those sites but to create a community so that it is student-run and they can all join there to talk about majors, gossip, anything you want in the discussion forums.”

Nigel Brooks, a management consultant at TechKnowPartners, became enamored with the idea of All College the first time he heard about it. Brooks has been working with Thomas and Cooke ever since.

After meeting with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, the person in charge of membership suggested the duo contact Brooks. The duplication of the application Cooke and Thomas created is what made him so excited about the project, Brooks said.

“If we can get it to work in Tempe and ASU, connecting students with businesses, we can take that to any college in the world,” he said. “It’s a duplicatable concept, and that is how you build a big business, and then you can build networks between.”

Seeing an opportunity to create a connection between students and businesses filled a void that wasn’t there before, Brooks said.

“I saw an opportunity here to take something that I thought would work in the local marketplace, that will provide value to both students and businesses by connecting them with each other but will scale up to a regional, national and eventually global base,” he said.

All College is a simple application to unite the ASU student community with the Tempe community, and there are similar applications but none like this, Brooks said.

“When you move around, you have to get to know a neighborhood and an app like this would be great,” Brooks said. “Where as there are competitors out there, everything that is good always has a competitor. This is special because it is aligned with the interests of students online.”

All College will begin marketing intern recruitment during the spring semester, and all applicants are requested to sign up by email.

 

Reach the reporter at jshanco2@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @joey_hancock