There were 381,576,305 check-ins last year... if your school is already using Foursquare... add more specials, create more venues and keep up the great work. However, if your school is not using Foursquare... read on.
Let me preface by telling you a little bit about what made my University experience unforgettable: A sense of community. Yes, I did go to a small school relative to other schools in Canada (based on student population); however, the size truly helped shape the culture. There were general areas where one could go and know for a fact that the odds of running into a familiar face were pretty high. I'm sure you can think of countless benefits to having a close-knit community, just think of your closest group of friends... maybe even colleagues... and think of how much you enjoy sharing experiences with them.
Having been through school, here is one piece of advice I can give a budding Undergrad: tour a campus and look at the amount of conversations people are having. Do people congregate in large groups and seem to enjoy each others' company or do they tend to keep to themselves?
Regardless of the size of your school, Foursquare can help build a sense of community, here's why:
1. Dude, where's the party? - Once you have your group of friends on Foursquare.. it's easy to find out where the happening place on campus is, because they would have all checked-in there. If you're looking for a way to make some friends.. watch for tips around campus and people will tell you where to go! If you ever get lost... follow the badges.
2. Encourage swarms - An individual can unlock a swarm badge when they become one of a certain amount of people checked-in at a certain location. What if a popular campus event gave every participant a reward for different stages of swarms? Just as an example.. if the campus bar was hosting a charity event.. what if it donated $50 for every 50 people that check-in.. and when 250 people check-in... everyone gets a free drink!
3. A voice for the people - The beauty of Foursquare's tips feature is that it makes so much sense at a University. Students will tell other students what to do and more importantly... what not to do! It certainly shifts a lot of power to the students and businesses that run on campus will have to recognize and adapt to this shift quickly.
Final thoughts: One of the facets of a great University experience is the sense of community on campus. Foursquare could be the catalyst your campus needs to help create that sense of community. It's almost a guarantee that every incoming student will have a cellphone.. and increasingly.. the odds are it will be a smartphone. If your school is looking to add value to the student experience by using technology that students are already carrying in their hands, check out Foursquare today.