While the growing American university student body–which according to recent statistics totals an impressive 18.4 million individuals (US Bureau)–is diversifying, some commonalities still exist across gender, sex, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic divisions. One thing nearly all students experience is the real struggle to balance their responsibilities and obligations while away at college. Students are expected to properly handle the daunting task of seeking out new experiences at college while still maintaining their responsibilities. And, with the U.S. undergraduate student body expected to climb to some 20 million by 2028 (US Bureau), even more individuals will start grappling with college life soon.
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However, there is a solution already available to help students overcome these obstacles and make the most out of their higher education experience. Two entrepreneurs who, themselves, are college students, have made it their mission to provide a viable solution to millions of like-minded, overburdened students. Beginning in early 2018, Sabine Rizvi and Milan Kordestani founded their company Dormzi, an innovative, student-focused application that connects students on the same campus to one another and provides an opportunity to complete peer-to-peer tasks. This relatively simple but highly useful application could potentially change the way millions of students throughout the U.S. spend their time on campuses–and here is how it might serve to accomplish this task.
Dormzi is a technology-based, micro-network driven solution for struggling college students throughout the U.S. More often than not, with classes to attend, tests to study for, extracurricular activities to participate in, and work obligations to fulfill, college students have little to no time left to invest in meaningful college experiences and real-life learning opportunities even though they are surrounded with them on campus. This devalues their education significantly–the purpose of a college education is not exclusively to attend class, write papers, memorize material, and pass tests; the real value of a university education is in the networking with others, participating in new activities, and obtaining meaningful opportunities with peers and professors alike.
In addition to students being strapped for time, all but the most privileged are also tight on finances. These shortcomings prevent students from taking on new adventures and openly accepting new challenges while in college. Dormzi’s founders, recognizing both the time and monetary limitations characteristic of college students, created their app to serve as a state-of-the-art platform to solve both problems. Through the platform, students can connect and help one another navigate the complexities of college life while earning money quickly, safely, and conveniently on campus.
Specifically, the app allows students to find peers on their college campuses to share the workload. Students can connect with one another to help out on time-consuming and resource-intensive tasks. At the same time, students who complete the tasks and work requirements have an opportunity to earn some cash on the side. The app creates a convenient service exchange economy. Differentiating itself from other apps on the market like TaskRabbit, the app only connects students with peers on their campus, to prioritize safety and convenience. This campus exclusive model does more than provide safety and convenience though, it allows for students to only give and receive help from others within their community–thus students can be tutored by others who may have already taken the same class, students can help decorate a dorm room an upper classman once lived in, and more.
Rizvi is a student at New York University with a strong background in business, psychology, and women’s studies. Kordestani is a student at Colorado College as well as serial entrepreneur with numerous start-ups in his already robust portfolio to include Milan Farms, The Doe, and Guin Records. Importantly, both of the founders are enrolled in colleges in the U.S. As a result, they have experienced, first-hand, the need college students have for intimate micro-networks on campus. Undoubtedly, their backgrounds and student status enabled them to develop an application that is beneficial to students and geared towards meeting the challenges of the greater college community in the U.S.
Currently, there are millions of college students that could stand to benefit from using this app for their needs. But Dormzi is not alone in the space of on campus gig-economy apps. Competitors at Harvard and Stanford have begun or attempted to build campus marketplaces, but Dormzi is the first to hit the hands of users and land on both the iOS and Android stores.
To date, the start-up has launched at Florida State University and New York University, seemingly focusing on a localized plan for expansion. Even though Dormzi is starting out small, its potential is large and global in nature.