A social media service designed for college students to connect with one another. Sound familiar? From its humble origins, Facebook has grown into the world’s largest social media platform, with 2.7 billion users — and now it’s going back to its roots.
Scripps College joined 29 other universities in the United States to test run Facebook Campus, a new Facebook feature specifically for college students, before it’s widely released.
It occupies its own tab in Facebook’s navigation bar and includes a campus feed, groups and events, just like the regular Facebook interface. To join, users must have a valid university email address.
In early September, Facebook Campus was released to 30 colleges, including Northwestern University, California Institute of Technology, Brown University, Tufts University and Wellesley College.
“[Facebook] selected a broad range of schools to really see how Facebook Campus can have a broad range of feedback on different kinds of schools,” Trinity Walker SC ’24, a Facebook Campus ambassador, said.
Walker became a Facebook Campus ambassador after someone from Facebook direct messaged her on Instagram, asking her to sign up. Walker did not disclose if she is receiving compensation for her position.
Within the broad range of schools, the general purpose of Facebook Campus remains the same: to connect university students with each other. Students can input their college major and graduation year to individually connect with people through groups and events.
“[Facebook Campus] can help you make more organic connections with people you might already have something in common with,” Walker said. “I think it’s a great way to connect with someone that you might not have connected with otherwise.”
However, not many Scripps students seem to be using it at the moment. There were 153 members as of Nov. 11, but there are only a handful of posts. Many of the students that TSL contacted for this story either did not use Facebook Campus or did not know what it is.
Isabella Melsheimer SC ’22 said she uses Facebook fairly often to stay up to date with school activities and joined Facebook Campus after getting a notification at the beginning of the school year.
“But then once it launched, nothing really happened, and I didn’t really see people posting on there,” she said.
Scripps students already inhabit a private Facebook group, Scripps College Current Students, which has 1,831 members. The group currently gets anywhere from three to 10 posts a day, becoming more active during class registration periods.
“Because [Facebook Campus is] a new thing that doesn’t really add anything new, I don’t really see people using it that much,” Melsheimer said.
After making a post in one of the groups, she realized that no one was seeing it because she had posted in the Facebook Campus group and not the regular 7C For Sale/For Free Facebook group that has more than 8,500 members.
“If more people were to use it, I think it would be incredibly helpful, but I think it’s just been hard to break people away from standard Facebook class pages,” Alexandria Davis SC ’24, another Facebook Campus ambassador, said via email. “But if it were a thing that more people at school used, I would definitely use it a lot more!”
However, Walker believes the lack of activity may be because of the virtual semester.
“I think our current situation has presented Facebook Campus with unique challenges to surpass since we’re online, but I think those will all disappear once we’re in person,” Walker said.