For many students on Rowan University’s campus, finding a study partner can be a hassle. But senior finance major John Rondi hopes to change that. His recently-launched app, Stunited, acts like a kind of Tinder for studying. Students looking for help with their work can meet other students on campus to help with studying, tutoring or anything else that might come up.
For Rondi, one late night assignment was his inspiration to sketch out an idea for what would later become Stunited.
“It was one situation where I was up [late],” Rondi said. “It was like two in the morning, I’m trying to write an English paper, it was [for] a composition class. And I’m a strong writer, but I never really enjoyed it. So it was really late, and I was tired of doing this, I was like ‘I need someone to revise this essay for me. I need some help now.'”
At that point at night, Rondi couldn’t reach out to his professor and the tutoring center was unavailable too. So he called his friend who was up doing her accounting homework and offered to help her in exchange for revision on his essay. As Rondi describes it, the process was a bartering of skill sets that worked out well for both parties. It was then that he decided to test the water and see what potential market there might be for an app like that.
“So I went to my friends, just quasi-pitched them the idea,” Rondi said. “They loved it, they loved the whole platform base of there should be a functionality of swiping right, swiping left and things like that.”
As for the next move with the app, the goal is to take Stunited national, and then potentially international. Rondi understands that hands-on engagement is key to building a base of support for the app. He also knows just how much work has to go into getting students engaged and involved, especially since he’s been doing most of it.
“We’ve been going to different colleges,” Rondi said. “I’m at a different campus or two campuses a week, just promoting the idea…at a stand, handing out hot dogs at a party or on campus just telling kids about it. I like that very hands-on grassroots approach. Just because I’m a college student myself, so I know how it feels to be in their shoes.”
Senior biology major Thomas Beishke knows where Rondi is coming from. As the head of ambassadors for Stunited, Beishke’s job is to help students at campuses become student ambassadors for the app. It took a little convincing, but he eventually came around to working on the app.
“Once we started to brainstorm about it a little more and think of different ways to manipulate the app towards students, I started to really think it was a good idea and it could really take off,” Beishke said.
For now, business is good for Stunited, but the team isn’t yet satisfied with what they’ve achieved. As they expand further, there’s no telling how far they’ll go. But all of that growth comes from a simple idea. Beishke summed it up by saying the ease and speed of Stunited is its major strength.
“When you’re in a clinch, and you need to get an assignment done that’s due the next day, you can link up with someone immediately and directly,” Beishke said. “And there’s no waiting process.”
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