New app helps college students make friends during the pandemic

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsLink)- The return to campus brought many changes to the college experience, especially when it comes to making friends. With limited in-person classes, online club meetings, and social distancing guidelines, students have been finding it difficult to befriend their peers.

“It has been very hard to make friends with a lot of students,” Ball State freshman Paige Lichnerowicz said.

For the incoming freshman class, socializing has been virtually impossible without an in-person orientation or Welcome Week. Returning students have also suffered since they have years past to compare to.

“It’s harder to go out and meet new people,” sophomore Thomas Elder said.

Some students have found the solution via social media, utilizing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to meet new faces on campus. Indiana University junior Ian Jones took this into account as he and his friends found difficulties expanding their own group.

"Me and Cole always had a problem with finding friends to hang with...I have one friend, but she would never have a good friend to find for Cole. So, I was like, ‘why don't we have an app that meets both friends at the same exact time?’"

As a result, Ian and his friends created WYD, a student-made matching app to connect with new people on their college campuses.

"We came up with the idea around soon as COVID came around we thought of it. It wasn't because of COVID we thought of the app, but it's like COVID gave us a lot of time to work on bugs and just figure out what people want like at some point in time,” Jones said.

WYD, a popular acronym for “what are you doing?” lets students create and join friend groups by swiping and matching, with the ultimate end goal of making friends and hanging out on campus.

"I was always inspired to make life easier than it already is, so, it's 2020 -- there are a lot of products that make a lot of things easy. But as for the app, especially for college kids, it makes it easier to find friends during COVID because it's pretty hard right now,” Jones said.

WYD will be available to Ball State students, as well as Indiana University and Purdue University when it launches free on the app store. The projected launch date is the week of October 1, 2020.

Students can sign up early for the app by visiting here.

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