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Goodbye, GroupMe: New App Connects Penn State Students By Major, Schedules, & More

A new app available exclusively to Penn State students aims to keep folks updated on what’s going around on campus and connect them by major, class schedule, and graduation year.

As classes are back in the swing of things, students are bombarded with six different GroupMe links for the same class and screenshots of students’ schedules on Facebook. Given that these apps are designed for other purposes, this process is messy, chaotic, and repetitive.

Penn State alumnus Mohamed Yousef created “Ramen” as a more accessible and standardized alternative to help connect college students.

“Ramen is an interconnected web of noodles, so to speak, much like a social network,” Yousef said. “It’s also a pretty common meal among college students, the target audience for our app.”

Students can download the app by searching “Ramen — For Colleges” on the App Store or Google Play.

Then, students can register using their Penn State email. After a quick verification process to vet spammers, students can add their major, class schedule, and graduation year to be added to individualized groups.

Unlike GroupMe, you do not need to know someone who is already in a group to be added.

“The process is standardized, as in you just tell us what classes you’re taking or what your major is and we will do the matching,” Yousef said. “You are able to post/see content from everyone in your school – not just a specific group.”

The app is username based, so students’ identity is semi-anonymous which allows users to speak freely.

Students have asked questions ranging from class recommendations, tips for focusing during the remote period, and whether or not the HUB is open for students to sit in. Additionally, users can post memes and pictures to their feeds.

“We are not trying to be the next social media or group messaging app,” Yousef said. “Our goal is to reach a small niche audience, allowing us to do things that don’t necessarily scale but are highly valuable to a small group.”

Ramen’s inspiration came when Yousef was a student at Penn State in 2015. He started out at Penn State Abington before transferring to University Park. Once he arrived in Happy Valley, he needed to rebuild his school connections and study groups, which was not an easy feat. He felt new students like himself needed an easier way to connect with other students.

The app came to fruition after he graduated and switched majors to software engineering to acquire the technical skills necessary to build it.

Development started in mid-2019, and the beta version was launched to nearly 100 students in November. Users have since tripled, and the official app will launch in the spring.

Once Ramen takes off at Penn State, Yousef joked that he plans to expand to all colleges and universities… except for Ohio State.

Ramen has vast potential to help Penn State students connect amid the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic and remote learning period. As the user count grows, Yousef and his team will host giveaways between now and March.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a sophomore biology major from York, Pa and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected]

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