Editor-in-Chief Lauren Kahme sat down with the creators of DormMatch, an application that helps connect students on campus, over spring break.

Residing in a dorm during a pandemic has proven to be one of the most isolating experiences our peers have faced this past year. Socialization with new people is nearly impossible on Columbia’s campus currently, and there is a noticeable lack of typical adolescent interactions, like casually chatting in a dorm hallway, because of the COVID-19 precautions set forth by the University for those living on or utilizing campus. 

Evan Tilley, SEAS ‘22, recognized this lack and decided to develop an app to hopefully solve this human problem. Tilley developed the app on iOS over the course of two to three weeks, this not being his first time creating an application. Jason Cardinale, SEAS ‘22, works on mods and user interface for the app, and Lucas Campa, CC ‘23, is dedicated to outreach and marketing for DormMatch. 

I interviewed this trio to delve into the beginning, current success, and future plans for DormMatch. At the time of the interview, DormMatch had acquired about 500 downloads from the app store, and 300 of those downloads became actual users of the app. The app acts in a format similar to dating applications; users can swipe left or right on their peers, whose profiles are shown with their undergraduate school and dorm location. The app allows users to see those who “liked” them, and a separate tab exists to view those who mutually swiped right or “matched” with each other. You can message with your matches, and the hope is that people can socialize safely with college peers living on campus. The app also includes a feature called the “Student Stream,” which allows users to stream their thoughts for all to read. 

In terms of the app’s privacy policy, Tilley explained that they don’t collect any data from users besides metadata, like how many total users are active or how many total sign-ups have occurred. DormMatch does use Google analytics, too. Additionally, the app is not currently producing any sort of revenue or monetary profit. 

The response from students has been positive overall, with some negative feedback pertaining to user interface issues, and the response from Columbia’s administration has been positive as well. DormMatch was even featured on CU’s Instagram account. 

Campa says that right now, his main goal is to do outreach with student groups, spread the word through social media and word of mouth, and grow usage organically. Eventually in the future, DormMatch may look to expand to other schools, but for now, the goal is to expand to and engage with as many students living on campus as possible. 

DormMatch is free to download from the iOS app store here.

screenshot of DormMatch from Lauren’s phone