Friday 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Froggy’s at 726 Second St.
For seemingly obvious reasons, college websites don’t tend to provide information on the hottest nightspots or where the cutest guys and girls congregate. However, that’s not to assume that a lot of us wouldn’t find this information helpful.
UC Davis graduates Michael Kim and Dan Greenberg solved this problem with yollege.com. Both said that they like to think of the website as an insider’s guide to everything one needs to know about the college experience.
Kim, the founder and president of the company, said that he created Yollege with the long-held conviction that students could learn valuable lessons from the experiences of fellow students.
“When I was a student, I definitely used ratemyprofessors.com,” Kim said. “I thought it was fantastic and I actually built my schedule around the professors. I think this is how it should be – students should teach other students.“
With Yollege, helpful information wouldn’t be limited to just the classroom.
“If someone wants to learn more about a club, say cycling or water polo, why not hear from the students who are actually involved with the club?” Kim said.
Yollege is similar to “ratemyprofessors.com, except much more inclusive,” explained Kim. On Yollege, students can post comments on topics ranging from academics and student organizations to local restaurants and Greek life.
Like Facebook, Yollege is not just limited to UC Davis students. Kim said that he hopes eventually college students all over the country will use Yollege as a resource.
Chris Pahl, a senior philosophy major, said in an e-mail that he thinks that Yollege is a useful tool for students.
“It’s good to hear what peers have to say about things rather than just what ‘the brochure‘ says,” said Pahl. “I use it when I want to find something new to do. In Davis it’s really easy to get stuck in the same old routine on weekends, so it’s cool to hear what other students are doing with their time.“
David Johnston, a UC Davis senior economics major said in an e-mail interview that he thinks Yollege is a great tool for prospective students looking into colleges.
“If it were around when I was picking colleges, I definitely would have used it,” he said.
Dan Greenberg, the vice president of the company, said that he thinks Yollege is a useful tool that current and prospective college students should use in addition to official college websites.
Greenberg said he feels official college websites tend exclude negative feedback about the university.
“Yollege offers an immediacy with everything, and it expresses the voice of the students themselves,“ he said.
Greenberg said that he first met Kim on the UC Davis men’s club lacrosse team. At the time, Greenberg was a junior and Kim was a freshman. Even then, Kim had an idea of what he wanted to do with the project.
Greenberg said that the project evolved from their initial idea to improve campus tours by making them longer and more student-oriented.
“Instead of hour-and-a-half tours of the campus, we thought it would be a good idea to coordinate a day-long tour where the student can eat at the dining commons, attend a student panel and get a better feel for the school,” he said. “We discovered that when people took the tours, their favorite part was the student panel, so we thought, ‘There’s an easier way to do this.‘”
Greenberg and Kim then thought that they could create a student panel online, making it available all the time.
While Kim said that he always had the idea in mind as a potential tool, he never really had the time to get it together.
“It’s actually a funny story,” Kim said. “I used to babysit for this kid after I graduated, and the father came home early one night and saw me making mac and cheese and folding underwear. He said, ‘I don’t mean to prod, but why are you babysitting for my three kids?'”
Kim replied that he was babysitting until he could realize his ultimate goal.
Kim then said that he told him about his idea for the company, but expressed his concerns about all of the costs and resources that need to go into creating a website.
“I started presenting my idea to him and others, it snowballed and people began investing,” Kim said.
After over a $100,000 investment, Yollege is up and running – the website launched in April 2008.
It was recently named one of the top five “Best of the Web” 2008 newcomers by Business Week. Now, Kim said that he and his partners are working to spread the word about their new website.
Yollege will host an event at Froggy’s at 726 Second St. on Friday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. where there will be a chance to meet the creators, as well as free giveaways, Kim said.
DARCEY LEWIS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.