Purdue launches online social network
It’s hard to stay in touch with former classmates and professors from Purdue, especially if there are hundreds of miles separating you. Phone calls become few and far between, and e-mail addresses change without notice. Soon you don’t know where to find anyone you knew in college.
But in January, Purdue launched an online network called Boilersphere that is exclusive to Purdue people. Now, you can log in from anywhere and reconnect with former friends and professors, network with other Purdue graduates, or share your experiences with current Purdue students interested in your field. “We recognized a growing trend of Purdue students and alumni wanting to connect with one another,” says Dan Gentry, director of advancement information services. Boilersphere offers users a chance to expand their professional and social networks with other Purdue people.
One of the biggest draws to the site is job listings. “Many companies look for Purdue graduates to fill open positions. This site provides a forum for companies to target Purdue people with specific job opportunities,” Gentry says. Several companies have job openings listed, and Purdue alumni who join can post job openings from their own companies for free.
Recent focus groups of Purdue students and alumni revealed real excitement about Boilersphere, Gentry says. In the classroom, students are taught the importance of networking and finding mentors, so they were enthusiastic to learn that they can do both of these things on Boilersphere.
“Our alumni are always looking for ways to get involved and give back to Purdue,” Gentry says. “Boilersphere provides a great opportunity for them to mentor students without stepping foot on campus.”
Boilersphere is different from other networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn because it is exclusive to Purdue students, alumni, faculty, and staff. A database of eligible members was created prior to the launch, so when someone attempts to join, the database authenticates the information and only allows access to eligible members. The Boilersphere Help Desk can answer questions or address any login problems.
The Boilersphere project is led by University Development and is driven by a committee with representation from each of the University’s colleges, schools and many campus organizations, including the Purdue Alumni Association, Athletics, Convocations, Special Events, Libraries, and WBAA radio. The committee’s goal is to register 30,000 Purdue people (upperclassmen, alumni, faculty, and staff) in 2008.
The Web address for Boilersphere is www.purdue.edu/boilersphere.