Website unites all campus pages

Joey Hamer, junior in business, wants to be clear — he did not coin the concept behind MyCollegeHomepage.com. Though he manages and runs the site, MyIllinoisHomepage.net, he does not claim credit on an idea that he didn’t come up with. By taking the honest route, comparisons to the Oscar buzz-worthy flick, The Social Network, fall to the wayside, and lawsuits between friends fold before they need to be dealt.

MyCollegeHomepage.com is a website that caters specifically to the technological needs of college students across the country. Currently, 12 universities are affiliated with the site, and recently, Illinois joined its ranks. MyIllinoisHomepage.net first and foremost operates as a command center for University student navigation. Compiling a number of the most popularly used websites among students — from Cites E-mail to Compass to Enterprise — the homepage manages to weave together efficiency and convenience for a student all on the same site.

Hamer reiterates that Tyler Rustin and Kurt Smentek are the original creators of MyCollegeHomepage.com from which the Illinois sister-site stems from. Rustin and Smentek, both juniors at the University of Iowa, contacted Hamer, and told him they wanted to expand beyond HawkeyeHomepage.net and hit Illinois.

“All the students at Iowa really loved the homepage, so we thought it would be a good idea to take it to more schools. We knew that if students at Iowa found it very useful, other students at other Universities would find it useful as well,” Rustin said.

Hamer accepted the offer to run the branch and a website was born.

With the understanding that students are extremely busy with extracurricular activities and obligations, Hamer says that the one of the chief goals of the site is to eliminate student time spent jumping from page to page on the Internet.

“The idea behind the site is simple,” Hamer said. “We know that students always have a lot going on, so we want every link on the page to be accessible.”

Will Pappo, manager of the University of Michigan affiliated homepage site agrees, and admits the “idea” is the reason he became involved in the company.

“I decided to run the Michigan site because I believe it’s a good idea. I think that the company has a lot of room to grow, and a lot of potential to generate income through advertisement. It’s a simple idea, and it works, and I wanted to be a part of it,” Pappo said.

Not only are these sites easy to use, but they also are accommodating to students’ personal preferences. Notably, MyIllinoisHomepage.net provides information on ordering food around campus through eatcu.com and displays current daily nightlife drink specials at each bar on campus. With an events tab added, students can look up the performance schedule at Canopy Club and Assembly Hall as well. There is also a tab labeled “Bus Routes,” which directly connects students to the MTD schedule on campus.

So, essentially, students can order a Turkey Tom from Jimmy John’s, look to see if Bob Dylan tickets are sold out, check e-mail, submit homework assignments, and glimpse the current weather for what to wear, all before deciding what bus to catch to Green Street to head over to Cly’s for ‘Wine Night’ on a Tuesday — on one site.

Jordan Sharlin, junior in LAS, couldn’t be happier that he was informed about the diversity of the site from a friend, and he highly recommends other students take notice as well.

“It literally brings together all the most popular sites you visit everyday on one easy-to-use interface. There’s no reason not to set Myillinoishomepage.net as your homepage,” he said.

Sharlin also notes that the site is open to taking advice from its student users.

“If you feel there should be a link added to the page, just drop a note in their suggestion box, and I’m sure they’ll have your requested link added in a few days,” Sharlin said.

Though it has only been up and running for about a month, MyIllinoisHomepage.net has already started to quietly gain fans. With around 3,000 hits each week, Hamer says that the site is doing well for being in its early stages, but he wants to get more people talking about it. Word of mouth is the best way to generate student curiosity, Hamer said. It certainly worked for Iowa.

With ideas of renovation and a “full-site makeover” circulating due to incoming revenue, Rustin is quick to add that success at Iowa has only fueled his and Smentek’s desire for expansion.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a homepage for every campus with over 2,000 students,” he said.

Until MyCollegeHomepage.com becomes a national name, Rustin says there will always remains room for improvement.