Friday, April 16, 2021

Student creates GroupMe chat to increase student involvement

With student involvement down, Plattsburgh Association of Black Journalists Social Media Coordinator Travis Peterson used GroupMe as a means of bringing Plattsburgh State students together.

GroupMe is a social media app where users create group chats with an unlimited number of members. Peterson created chat on Feb. 23 after Black Onyx had a low participation turnout for its pageant. He also said other clubs like PABJ were forced to cancel scheduled events for that day as well because of a low headcount.

“The groupchat is like a reminder for people to come to these meetings on these days,” Peterson said.

The chat is named “Word on the street” and currently has 259 Plattsburgh State members. Peterson got this idea from a PSUC student who was formerly enrolled at another college in Albany saying his campus had a similar group chat with about 5,000 members.

The chat has seen a lot of activity in the past two weeks. PSUC students have used it to coordinate party plans, locate fellow students who know how to braid hair and to chat with strangers on campus. Peterson’s main objective was to use the chat so clubs and organizations could remind students of meetings but is not opposed to other purposes. He believes the gap between PSUC students can be bridged through this idea.

“Some people don’t know [anybody] on campus. Especially freshmen,” Peterson said. “If we put freshmen into the chat now they know what’s going on.”

PSUC students already in the chat are enjoying the conversation.

“It’s positive vibes only [in the chat],” freshman Kendra Frith said. 

To minimize abuse in the chat, Peterson has informed members of the rules that must be followed while talking in the chat.

“If you don’t like someone, don’t bring it into the chat,” Peterson said. “If someone says something problematic, I will deal with it in person.”

 Assistant Director of the Center for Student Involvement Jacob Avery has a different view of student involvement in PSUC and disagrees with Peterson’s statement of it decreasing.

“What we view as involvement needs to expand,” Avery said. “When students think about involvement, they think of Greek life and big events. That is not the case of what involvement is now.”

Avery said he thinks student involvement within PSUC has stayed the same since he has been here. Instead of a large group of students focusing on one major issue, PSUC contains a variety of groups who focus on several different issues. Avery thinks a campus-wide group chat will be fun and thriving at first but will slow down in terms of activity because everyone gets tired of a group chat eventually.

Peterson’s goal is to have the chat around for the duration of his time as a PSUC student and beyond.

“[I want the chat] to go as far as it can,” Peterson said. “ If we don’t establish[ a relationship with the freshman] there are not going to be anymore clubs.


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