Senior Staffer Charlotte Slovin reports on the new campus group StudBud, a site designed to create study groups and cultivate friendships for incoming students in a year of virtual classes.

What happens when four like-minded incoming SEAS students meet at the Columbia Summer Design Challenge? They make a website that responds to “these unprecedented times,” of course.

Manasi Soman ’24, Eitan Turok ’23, Jessica Shi ’24, and Kimberly Tsao ’24 all met this summer at the Columbia Summer Design Challenge after randomly being grouped together. Their mission, solve a COVID-related problem that impacts the education system. After some initial ideas, trials, and errors, it dawned upon the team that they were about to enter an environment in which COVID-19 impacted their educational experiences, more specifically finding and making connections with fellow incoming students.

Thus, StudBud was born. StudBud, designed and run by the team of four, is a site focused on creating study groups for (mainly) introductory courses with the ultimate goal of cultivating friendships for incoming students. The site uses a machine-learning algorithm that takes into account metrics like personality type, student time zone, and investment in the given course to produce study groups that best fit each student’s needs. The only thing interested students have to do to participate is fill out the StudBud “preference survey” and the algorithm takes care of the rest.

StudBud plans on using instead of sites like Zoom for meetings because allows groups to use one link for their “study room” throughout the semester without having to keep sending scheduled Zoom links to meet. also allows for multiple study group “rooms” at once, so study groups can collaborate or ask each other questions if needed.

StudBud already has over 150 students distributed over 39 courses signed up for Fall semester study groups. The site has recently paired up with Columbia Connect, an online platform focused on social events for incoming students, and ESC to expand their campus presence. Currently, courses on the StudBud site are limited to STEM-based disciplines and are mainly located at SEAS. There have been no efforts to introduce Barnard courses to the site. StudBud has also reached out to professors for faculty engagement and mentorship but has yet to receive any responses.

If you are looking to study better and buddy better, fill out the StudBud preferences survey on their site by September 15 at 11:59 pm EDT to receive your study group for the semester by the 17th!

Update 9/13 10:40 AM: As of now, StudBud has expanded to all CC and SEAS courses.

StudBud Logo via StudBud Team