College site rivals Facebook
Facebook.com is great for showing your friends photos from last night’s wild party.
It’s great for having your friends listed in a Rolodex-type list.
But Zach Suchin and Jason Schutzbank, co-founders of online college networking site Collegetonight.com, or College Tonight, have different goals when it comes to networking.
“Facebook is a great online utility, but it’s not a method of social communication in terms of getting off the computer,” Suchin said.
The goal of College Tonight, Suchin said, is to encourage face-to-face interaction instead of communication behind a computer screen.
“College Tonight is conducive to mobility, geared toward getting college students to do what they should be doing,” he said.
Suchin, a 2006 political science and film graduate of Emory University, began dreaming up College Tonight in November of 2005.
As a promoter and marketer, Suchin used the conference tool on Emory University’s school server to promote events. From there, he was inspired to do more of the same.
Online conferencing for student events snowballed to a large amount of networking, he said.
“We found that 85 to 90 percent of the undergraduate population at Emory was using this conference,” Suchin said. “At that point we realized there was probably a way to monetize that.”
Suchin then went to local companies for support. He found Schutzbank, a business administration, marketing and operations management junior at Emory, to help him brainstorm.
Together they created a 40-page document that became the first version of College Tonight.
Originally tested at Emory University, the response to the site was overwhelming, Suchin said.
Suchin and Schutzbank want to make sure the site remains exclusive to college students.
“We want to retain that so it’s very transparent and very clear of what our intentions are,” Schutzbank said. “We don’t want to hurt our members by making it open to everyone like we feel Facebook did.”
No-preference freshman Kara Salvati said a networking site with intentions to make students more active could be beneficial.
“It’s a good idea to get students to go out,” Salvati said. “I definitely think students spend way too much time online.”
The events publicized on College Tonight focus on bars, clubs and nightlife, Schutzbank said.
“As we expand, we are looking to get more into academics and greek life,” he said.
Emphasis on getting out and getting involved sets College Tonight apart, Suchin said.
“Creating a Facebook clone is not going to cut it,” Suchin said. “We’re really all about mobility and privacy.”
Schutzbank and Suchin are on a marketing tour to promote the site, visiting 52 cities and 192 campuses nationwide.
For now, students such as Roya Eshragh are becoming interested in the opportunity to network on a different site.
“I think it has possibilities,” the zoology junior said.