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SU on Foursquare enables students and campus visitors to meet up with friends, learn about places, take advantage of special offers

September 10, 2010

Kelly Lux
(315) 443-5692

Foursquare has come to Syracuse University–in a big way.

foursquareIt’s no surprise that SU is an early adopter of the popular location-based mobile application, considering the company’s founder, Dennis Crowley ’98, and his brother and Foursquare’s head of media partnerships, Jonathan Crowley ’02, are both alumni of the Newhouse School.

Location-based services (LBS) like Foursquare are the latest trend in social media. LBS allows smartphone users (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.) to “check in” at their current location, share that information with friends, unlock “badges” based on check-ins, and get tips and specials pushed to their phones for doing so. It’s a game, but it’s also a great way to explore a community or a campus.

SU was one of the first higher education institutions with its own Foursquare page (http://foursquare.com/syracuseu), where visitors can “Explore the ’Cuse with Foursquare.” The University’s involvement started last March, when David Rosen, now a senior in SU’s School of Information Studies, reached out to Dennis Crowley via Twitter to inquire about creating a Foursquare presence for the University. Dennis responded, and a continuing dialogue began between Foursquare and SU.

SU’s Foursquare page showcases the campus and surrounding locations, along with posted tips for those checking-in or thinking about checking-in to these venues. The page currently has more than 1,300 friends. When someone becomes a friend of SyracuseU on Foursquare, the individual receives tips when he/she checks-in at campus venues or at a variety of locations nearby.

SU’s social media team has forged a partnership with Foursquare that has recently brought a set of five campus badges to Syracuse: Quad Squatter, Bookworm Bender, Munchies, College Explorer and Smells Like School Spirit. Each of these special campus badges can be unlocked by anyone who checks-in at a prescribed number of places or events around campus. Descriptions of the campus badges and the requirements to unlock them are available at http://bit.ly/a27Rq4. Campus badges are a great way for students, especially new students, to explore campus and get real-time tips about various locations.

In addition to the gaming aspect of Foursquare, locations on campus can be tied to specials and discounts, informing Foursquare users about what the locations have to offer and why they might want to stop by. For instance, last week upon checking-in anywhere on campus, a notification was sent that Glaceau was giving out bottles of water near the Place of Remembrance. For those who check-in at the Schine Student Center, a tip comes up on screen about the Monday discount specials at the SU Bookstore.

The University understands that, with the increasing number of students coming to campus with smartphone technology, it is important to engage them and create opportunities for them in a medium they understand. The mobile culture of SU is the perfect setting for Foursquare. Plans are under way to offer on-site mobile application training to students to help them learn about and access this new technology. In addition, special Foursquare activities are being created to coincide with the upcoming Orange Central celebration Oct. 14-17.

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