Christopher Tsetsekosplans to launch FuzeMee, a college social networking app that helps students make friends, find roommates and explore on-campus events through a personalized feed, with co-founders David Graham of Ohio State University and Jon Krouse of Wake Forest University, next month.
Tsetsekos was accepted to the Tufts Class of 2024 but elected to take a gap year and will begin as a first-year in the 2021–22 school year.
“Last year, I was a senior accepted to Tufts and I noticed how difficult it was to find and meet my future classmates," Tsetsekos said. "I wanted to make new friends but the only way to do so would be reaching out to someone on Facebook [or on other social media apps]."
According to Tsetsekos, there are ways to learn about others in your class online, but the number of people and the lack of organization makes it hard for students to make genuine connections with their peers.
“There's a huge Google Sheets with hundreds of rows of students … There’s also an Instagram account where students introduce themselves via Google Forms … [but] there's really no easy way to narrow down your search or create a group chat with people who have similar interests [as] you," Tsetsekos said.
Tsetsekos detailed how FuzeMee presents a solution to this obstacle.
“When students create their FuzeMee profile, they answer all these same questions like hometown, major and interests and from there, they can easily connect with anyone at their school by texting them individually or in group chats [on the app]," Tsetsekos said.
Tsetsekos added that FuzeMee is targeted at not only incoming first-year students, but also older students. Users can create customized feeds for upcoming events and activities based on their personal interests, which would be applicable to all students.
“On the community page, it shows events happening on and around campus, and students can also post any events on this page … I’ve noticed a lot of students promoting their clubs or upcoming events on Facebook groups where it gets lost… So on FuzeMee, you can filter by school or student-led events, and also by the date," Tsetsekos said.
Allison Zhang, a member of the Tufts University Social Collective, described some of the challenges involved in advertising events to students online.
“Participation for events has been greatly impacted by Zoom and the virtual format … And I do think this is something that TUSC is kind of struggling with because we try to post on multiple channels like Facebook, Instagram and Instagram stories, but obviously with a [temporary] story, if you don't follow us avidly or check consistently, you wouldn't be able to see it,” Zhang, a first-year, said.
Shona Horton further emphasized the difficulty students face in keeping up with events and college-related posts on multiple platforms.
“If I remember to check Facebook, I will check it, but in my opinion, Facebook is mostly for parents so I almost never check it," Horton, a first-year, said. "And then the Presence interface is kind of hard to navigate and never user friendly … I also don't really understand why we need to sign in to view the events on there."
Another feature on FuzeMee is a function that helps students find potential roommates.
“On your profile is also a roommate questionnaire … Students want to find … somebody with the same interests as them … rather than just getting paired with somebody and getting their email a couple days before moving in,” Tsetsekos said.
Tsetsekos said that FuzeMee will be student run on college campuses, including Tufts, but sees room for future partnerships.
“FuzeMee is independent from [universities], but given the benefits FuzeMee provides … I would love to potentially collaborate with Residential Life to help kids find more compatible roommates in the future," Tsetsekos said.
Tsetsekos also shared results of FuzeMee test runs at Ohio State University and Wake Forest University.
“In early March, FuzeMee was beta-tested at Ohio State and Wake Forest in the entrepreneurship classes, with over 100 students using the app," Tsetsekos said. "On a weekly basis, students engaged with FuzeMee over 14 times per day. And we noticed students’ promoting their clubs and Greek life events on the app."
A survey from that beta-testing further revealed the prevalence of FuzeMee.
“82% of students indicated they would be disappointed if they couldn't use FuzeMee anymore, while 42% said they see no alternative if FuzeMee were no longer available," Tsetsekos said.
Students involved in that testing also signed up to be ambassadors for the app.
“We have over 400 high school and college students as ambassadors with a combined digital reach of 3.5 million,” Tsetsekos said.
Horton emphasized the way she thinks FuzeMee can benefit her.
"If there’s one place where I can go to see everything that I would be interested in, it would be a lot more appealing than what’s currently going on for sure," Horton said.