A Safe New Social Network Exclusively for College Students
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A Safe New Social Network Exclusively for College Students

(upbeat music)
– Hi, I’m Rachel Leigh, on campus,
talking today with students about issues
that are affecting them and how they’re navigating
through their college career, which can be stressful. – Yeah, so I was definitely
super stressed out knowing that I was going to be
going into a brand new school and now really understanding
what the academic rigor was going to be like. – I really feel
the biggest stress was definitely being
away from home, you know. I only went up with
one of my friends, so going to the huge campus,
not really knowing anybody, not having my parents right
there to cook me dinner, it was definitely,
like, hard for me. – And you had an incident
with a professor? – Some comments were made
that just made me feel a little uncomfortable. Nothing, no one acted on it,
but it just got me thinking, what if something
were to have happened, and it definitely
made me want to, I guess find out if anyone else
had experienced similar things. – Bullying does happen
on college campuses, and it’s something that
people think is exclusive to Greek life, but it
can happen to anyone, in any situation, organization,
with your roommates, a sports team, and it’s
just one of those things where if you notice a
change in your peers, or something going on, you
want to reach out to them. – College students
face so many issues, from depression to hazing to
substance abuse, lack of sleep. If you would have known
that there was a platform out there to help you navigate
through your college career, how would that have
changed things for you? – I wish I knew of a
platform coming into college because it was a
huge adjustment, especially lack of sleep,
because I value sleep a lot, and the transition from high
school to college was shocking. (upbeat music)
– A lot of students that I would come in contact with
did feel like maybe there was nowhere to go,
or they didn’t know who to talk to
and maybe they’re from out of state
or their family is far away and their friends are far away
and a lot of people come here from other places
and they don’t, you know, they don’t immediately have
that great support group. – Now let’s head
back to the studio. Julie Moran is learning
about a fabulous new resource that’s helping college
students feel safe and supported by their peers. – Now more than ever,
students need a forum where they can go to
feel safe and secure, to share confidences,
to ask for advice and connect with others. Joe Purisky has started such
an online social platform exclusively for
college students. It’s his aim to provide a
judgment-free atmosphere where students can
talk peer to peer. Kerry Brennan,
Darniesha Pressley, both freshmen at Penn
State University, they recently signed
up for ePEERS, and they’re all here today! It’s so great to have
you guys in studio. – Thanks for having us. – You know, I’m kind of
in this boat, I have a college age student,
I have a high school senior, she’s going off to college. I feel like I’ve prepared her,
but Joe, we really don’t know, they don’t know what to expect
when they get there, right? – Well, that’s
exactly the point. There’s a lot of… The transition from high
school to college is a big one, and it’s not as simple
with social media and a lot of other options,
it’s really not as simple as it used to be,
but it should be a lot easier, and with ePEERS, that’s exactly
what we’re trying to do, is allow, provide
some safe haven and some tools for students
to make the transition as easy as possible. – And why did you create ePEERS? – It’s an interesting story. About three years ago, I
was on a college campus in North Carolina, and I
picked up a student newspaper and there had been an article
about some student suicides, and it kind of shocked me. I didn’t really think
of that demographic as a high risk for
suicides, but it turned out, there’s on average about
11 hundred suicides every year on college campuses,
and I started looking into what options students had
to create support for themselves,
and there really wasn’t anything. There’s a lot of
social media out there, but it’s not really
designed to be used in an intimate, serious way,
and so ePEERS was something that I just
sort of developed over time to realize
students need to connect each other, with each other,
in ways that are meaningful, and that can also be anonymous
if they choose to be, so they can talk
about serious issues. – Sure. Now, you two, how did
you find your ePEERS? It’s relatively new. – Yes, so we actually have a
student-run communications firm at Penn State and Joe was
one of the clients for it, so they got the word out
to a lot of the students in the college of
communications, about ePEERS, and I’m so happy they did,
because it is such a helpful app and so many people in my clubs
with communications know about it and stuff, so it’s great. – And what do you
like most about it? – Well, it’s a place
where every student can go and talk to each other
about the things that, had you not known
that person in person, you wouldn’t be
able to know about. And you can talk about
them in these groups, as yourself, like I
could talk and be me, or I could be anonymous
and not have to worry about someone judging me for it. – Was it easy to
set up an account? – So easy. – It was so easy to do. You just take your college,
your email, your EDU address, and you sign up for it. Like, that’s the only
way you can get on with your college address. – Wow. And given the
recent surroundings concerning Facebook,
it’s so great to be able to know that this is
completely protected information. – Well, that’s exactly right. The way ePEERS works is that
we do not monitor anything that goes on on the site
in terms of communications. We feel that college students,
technically they’re legal adults. They should have the right
to communicate in a safe way. It’s not something
that parents can get on or professors can get on,
so it really is a safe environment. The key, though, is
that we do want people to use it respectfully,
and we say that using ePEERS is a
privilege, not a right. It doesn’t cost anything
for the students, but if they are inappropriate,
they will have their account terminated,
and we take that extremely seriously. – Well, my daughter’s
getting ready to go. Would you both of you encourage
her to sign up right away? – [Kerry] Definitely, yeah. – [Darniesha] As soon as she
gets her college email address, I’d highly recommend it. She can talk to people
and ask questions. She gan get the
answers directly. – [Julie] You know, Joe, have
parents come to you and said, wow, I’m so glad you
created this site? – [Joe] We want parents to
tell their incoming freshmen or their existing college
students, go on ePEERS. It’s a safe environment. We have nothing to do with it,
but it’s someplace where you can make friends
and deal with issues that are likely to come up
over your term as a college student. – And where can people find you? – They simply go to ePeers.com. We’re constantly adding
new features and functions based on what the feedback
we’re getting from students, and we’re just glad
to have great students like Darniesha and Kerry here,
have made their friends aware of it,
and we think that ePEERS will continue to expand
through awareness from college students. – Well, thanks so much
for creating this site, and thank you all, thanks
so much for joining us. Now, remember, it’s ePEERS.com,
and you can always go to our website at TheBalancingAct.com. You guys are great. I’m so glad that this is out
there for college students. – Well, thanks for having us. – For my daughter, too.

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