SSU App Student Feed Creates Dynamic Platform for Students

Jerilyn Garrett, Staff Reporter

With the technology age booming, many colleges and universities across the United States have created mobile apps for students and staff to use as a source of information. Shawnee State University developed their own SSU App in 2016 with the tagline “Get Connected. Stay Connected.” Approaching 5 years since then, the app has evolved into its own community and provided a new atmosphere for students to be welcomed. This can especially be seen through a time period on the Student Feed when students created many humorous discussions concerning road conditions and a cat’s name amongst the typical questions and advice. 

Initial Intentions 

When SSU first created the SSU mobile app, it was advertised as a way to allow easier access to campus events, courses, highlights and services. The app was also explained as a new method for students to communicate and create conversations on the Student Feed section. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, even more services have been added like the Health Pass feature for daily COVID-19 clearance to enter buildings and sections to sign up for vaccines.

The SSU App serves as a hub for all student needs, but in the past recent years, it has become an essential part of student connection and community, especially in the presence of online classes and virtual programming due to the pandemic.

What is on the App?

The SSU App features three main pages: Home, Services Portal and the Community Channel. 

  1. On the Home page, students can add their personalized schedule and courses. Courses that are in the system will automatically list due dates and assignments right on the page. It also features quick access points to Blackboard, the Bear’s Den menu and more.
  2. The Services Portal includes links to all student programs, calendars, the spirit shop, MySSU, athletics information, news stories and access to tutoring. 
  3. One of the most actively used pages campus-wide is the Community Channel. The Community Channel, which revolves around the Student Feed, provides a place for students to ask questions, talk about classes and events, buy and sell textbooks, search for housing and many other things. 

The Student Feed as SSU’s Social Media

In a way, the Student Feed has become a personalized form of social media for SSU students. While most students mainly use the Student Feed as a way to buy and sell their used textbooks cheap, many students have also shared humorous exchanges, relatable moments and even memes special to SSU’s campus culture. 

In February, student bonding on the Student Feed reached a new height while students discussed the impact of the winter storms and one of the well-known campus cats. While these are two very different topics, the Student Feed erupted about both of them at the same time, providing for some interesting memes and conversations.

During the time of the winter storms in the middle of February, the roads around campus and Portsmouth often had bad driving conditions and class was often canceled in the mornings. Many students posted asking others if the roads were icy and other students readily responded with their own recent experiences on the roads.

Boldman’s first post about the road conditions. (Kaleb Boldman)

Kaleb Boldman, a current SSU student, posted a photo reference from the Mario Kart videogame of a character drifting on ice with the caption “roads really be like.” The meme received instant reaction and attention from students on the app as the topic was trending on the Student Feed. Throughout the next few days and the winter storms worsening, Boldman continued to post the same photo with different filters and advanced captions. 

After the winter storms finally let up, roads cleared and classes began to resume normally, Boldman even posted the original photo with the caption “wait a minute…it can’t be…is that? ROADS!” Creating a series of posts, students were able to find some humor while discussing road conditions. As the conversations and memes surrounding the winter storms took place, the topic of a campus cat also came to light. 

Photo of the well-known campus cat, agreed upon the name of Morris. (Rachel Sands)

On Feb. 18, a student posted a photo of an orange cat walking around outside of the campus dorms. The post took traction and students commented that the cat is a regular visitor and students quickly began discussing what the cat’s name is. While some believed that the cat’s name was already decided as Pumpkin Spice, Funny Cat or a variety of other names, many agreed that the cat’s name is Morris. After the initial post gained 91 comments about the cat’s name, another student made a separate post dedicated to debating about what the cat’s name is, gaining 80 comments in total. 

Dalaba’s meme about the dynamic on the Student Feed at the time. (Hannah Dalaba)

Throughout these exchanges, many students created memes and pictures to go along with the unique, fun student debate. While some SSU students were asking about road conditions and others were concerned about a campus cat’s name, student Hannah Dalaba took the chance to create a meme about the situation with a current popular format. The dynamic presented through even just these two concurring conversations on the Student Feed serves as a great representation of the diversity of discussion that students have formed through the SSU App.

On the Student Feed, students have built a unique atmosphere for open communication and connection that would be a challenge to recreate. Given an outlet specifically assigned to student conversation, many students look to the Student Feed for all of their questions and answers about not only SSU, classes and campus ongoings, but also life. Students have been able to connect in friendly ways while also getting advice and professional help, something that has been advantageous during the time of virtual learning and the COVID-19 pandemic. While this was not the full, original intentions of the SSU App and Student Feed, it has provided a defining characteristic to the SSU experience that students will not forget.