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Monday, April 22, 2024

Discord creates new hub feature inspired by student-made UC Davis Discord Directory

A new feature called “Discord Student Hubs” serves as a place to find and add servers to connect with classmates at your school

Discord, an instant messaging system characterized by small chat rooms or servers, is rolling out a new feature known as Discord Student Hubs. This update was inspired in part by the Discord UCD Club/Server Directory, a creation by a UC Davis student.

Samuel Petruescu, a fifth-year applied physics major, created the directory on Discord in 2019 as a way to have a common location for links to join UC Davis-related servers for clubs and courses. Today, thousands of students have joined the directory.

“I wasn’t expecting it to grow this much, but I just started by adding servers I already had and starting telling students about this server I made,” Petruescu said via Discord. “Before I knew it, people from Reddit and other servers started joining, and it just kind of grew. Another big factor was orientation last year being online and students getting the link from each other.”

The server includes separate sections for announcements, university programs and resources, official UC Davis-affiliated clubs, dorm hall-specific servers and more. 

Petruescu went on to explain that a UC Davis ambassador from Discord reached out to him saying they were impressed with the directory and wanted to model a new feature after it. Petruescu answered their questions, and they began developing the Hubs feature.

According to the Discord Student Hubs FAQ page, the feature is meant to serve as “a place for students to meet classmates from their school.” Similarly to the UC Davis directory, Discord Student Hubs lists servers added by students for different communities and courses and is not officially affiliated with or managed by schools. However, in order to enforce the university community aspect, each hub can only be accessed by users with an email address associated with their school.

The Student Hubs do not include university programs, and any student can list a server, so there’s no separation between official clubs and communities.

“Students will be able to find other classmates that have joined the hub, add their servers to the hub, and find their classmates’ servers, all in one place,” the Student Hubs FAQ page says.

Petruescu talked about how access to a resource like the UC Davis Directory has helped students to connect, especially during the year of online schooling. 

“I’ve gotten a lot of DMs from students explaining how much the directory has helped them meet new people and not have to stress so much about joining clubs or communities or handling courses throughout the pandemic, which has been a big motivator for keeping the directory as well,” Petruescu said. “I think it serves both as a tool and as a symbol that the UC Davis community is resilient throughout, and that we as a community are built and dedicated to helping each other grow, which I hope the directory helps to enable.”

Isabelle Carrel, a third-year cognitive science major, detailed how Discord has enabled her to make connections in the UC Davis community. 

“[A] few of the clubs I’m in have online Discords, and that’s been incredibly useful for helping people connect during the pandemic,” she said via Discord.

According to Carrel, she had gone to a few meetings of a club called Side C before the pandemic but wasn’t very active in the organization. During the pandemic, she was able to find the club again through the directory and become more involved. 

As UC Davis transitions back to in-person classes, students will be able to interact with their classmates in real life, rather than solely through digital platforms, but Petruescu believes that the server will continue to be useful as a resource and tool.

“Even if it isn’t used as much, that’s okay,” Petruescu said. “I’ll still keep it maintained in case it can help just one more student… I’m definitely not complaining but it was quite difficult to maintain at times with my class schedules, but I’d still do it all over again even if it meant just helping a handful of students.”

Written by: Sonora Slater — science@theaggie.org

Editor’s note: The headline previously stated that Discord Hub was created by a UC Davis student, when the new feature was instead inspired by UC Davis Discord Directory. The headline has been updated to correct the error.


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