Students get help with online socialising

By Evelina Mezzennaja

A new app and two weeks of online events that are not on Zoom have been launched by the University of Essex Student Union in its “Let’s connect” package.

The new app, Umii, allows students to find new friends according to their interests and the course they are studying. The app searches for matches and offers a list of people you can message.

My first impression is that the app does not provide a wide range of connections. Initially, my list contained only three people, and by the end of the first day, it extended only to seven. The app looks like a messenger, and you can only connect students who matched you somehow.

The SU is also offering three online events per day each afternoon on the Toucan platform — which unlike Zoom allows users to move at will between conversations that interest them. For the first week, there are TV and game nights, coffee and pub chats, hobby hangouts, international meetups, sessions where you can share your problems and concerns with others, and even the opportunity to find housemates for the next academic year. Events are both entertaining and helpful in students’ lives.

Toucan events are much more like real-life conversations than Zoom meetings (and a welcome break from them for students). Like Zoom, on Toucan, you can not only attend existing events but also host your ones.

Both Umii and Toucan are easyto use, and all the SU online events are free to attend.