A website launched in 2017 called ePEERS is providing an online space for meaningful connections between college students with a harassment-free environment, according to a press release on PRNewswire this month.
“ePEERS is a safe, judgment-free environment for students to seek and provide mutual encouragement,” according to the press release.
The site differs from other social networking sites because it offers a support system, said founder and CEO Joe Purisky in an email. Students can can post anonymously about sensitive topics, get advice and support and find links to mental health services, Purisky said.
“Sites like Facebook are not conducive to discussing serious issues due to their public nature. Abusive conversations on ePEERS will result in terminated accounts to ensure students can enjoy the safe space they say they can’t find anywhere else,” Purisky said.
ePEERS is not actively monitored by the company but students are encouraged to report concerns, Purisky said.
The website is restricted to college students with a “.edu” email address. Although users are asked their birthdate to verify their status as a college student, there is no age limit and some college graduates will still have access, Purisky said.
“At this point in time, as long as students maintain their .edu email account, they will be able to access the site,” Purisky said.
Purisky said he came up with the idea when he read an article about student suicides and started researching the topic.
“Over a 10-month period, I visited 81 colleges, having conversations with many students who indicated that there was no safe, social support forum exclusively for students,” Purisky said. “I decided that needed to change.”
Students have the option to ask questions, connect with students from schools across the country and can join student groups with similar interests, Purisky said. Two additions to the site will come “soon” to connect students even further.
“The HUB will be a resource of student-recommended websites…,” Purisky said. ”The ePEERS Exchange will be a single stop for buying, selling and trading items with other students nationwide.”
Students from the University of Miami, California State University, Temple University, Illinois State University and Northeast State Community College immediately showed up on the first page after creating an account. No results for UConn students appeared after entering the university in the search bar.
Users can access the website or use a mobile ePEERS app compatible with IOS and Android.
Nicholas Hampton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.