Joining the ranks of Facebook and Twitter, UT is launching its own social network to help connect students to organizations and resources on campus.
Called HornsLink, the network allows students to create their own profile using their UT EIDs to receive customized recommendations about events and organizations matching their interests. Although many students are currently on other social media websites, UT officials say HornsLink is different because it specializes in helping individuals and organizations connect with each other on campus.
After students create a profile, they can contact organization leaders, receive weekly updates about events on and off campus and create a resume that lists the organizations and volunteer hours they have completed.
HornsLink will officially launch Aug. 19, but students can already create profiles and more than 600 students have already signed up.
Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said the purpose of HornsLink is to help students make connections that will help them get through their college career.
Reagins-Lilly said making connections early helps keeps students in school and graduate in four years, a top priority for UT.
“We know that there are all different types of students that come here,” Reagins-Lilly said. “The question is, how do we provide them with a pathway and how do we customize their experience?”
Although the service is targeted at first-year students, UT officials are encouraging all students to sign up because students might find new interests by interacting with the variety of organizations at UT on HornsLink.
UT students had a key part in developing HornsLink, officials said. Students explored other university-based social networks at different schools and helped develop the current structure for the platform. Reagins-Lilly said UT purchased a software package for HornsLink, but claimed the exact amount spent developing the network was not available since the software will be used on other university projects.
Connor Hughes, a biochemistry and Plan II junior, is currently working to promote HornsLink and said he hopes students come to see the outlet as a cool way to connect with people on campus.
“There are a lot people who go to class and they don’t really know what else to do with their time, so I feel this could be a really good opportunity for them,” Hughes said. “I hope it will get more students to explore their interests and branch out and see what they’re into.”
Forrest Wolfe, an incoming freshman from Houston, said he believes HornsLink will make new students feel more at home.
“Most of us have no clue about the student organizations at UT besides the Greek life, and we really don’t know how much there is to offer out there,” Wolfe said.