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MyUofT: a website for students to virtually connect

Project hopes to provide an alternative way to meet new people during COVID-19
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The website allows users to view social media profiles of other U of T students. KEVIN XIAO/THE VARSITY
The website allows users to view social media profiles of other U of T students. KEVIN XIAO/THE VARSITY

Beginning my first year at the University of Toronto from my home in Thailand would have been a greater challenge if I hadn’t managed to make friends at this point. Although many social media platforms exist, I have tried to connect with fellow students through a newly launched website: MyUofT.

MyUofT is a website where any student at any campus with a verified U of T email can create a profile and list their social media platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, Twitter, and WeChat. Once an account is made, the users can see other students’ names, programs of study, campus, year of graduation, and social media profiles.

How MyUofT started

In an email to The Varsity, Promise Xu, a U of T alum and one of the founders of MyUofT, wrote, “I see clearly how COVID-19 is sucking the life out of the UofT experience—stranded at home, unable to have the kind of interactions with professors and classmates as I was used to.” 

Xu and Gavin Ouyang, another U of T alum, subsequently decided to “[spend] a few weeks designing and building the site,” launching its first version in October. Xu noted that they “felt there is a real need for a platform that helps UofT students find and connect with each other, no matter where they are during this pandemic.” 

“This is especially important for international students, as most of them couldn’t even come to live in and experience Canada,” Xu wrote. Being an international student myself and having never met any friends at UTSC in person, I can relate to this sentiment.

Socializing on MyUofT

First, to verify that you are studying at U of T, you will have to fill in your U of T email. Then, you can fill in optional, basic information like your real name, gender, campus, year of graduation, and expected program of study. 

After this, you can add your social media or edit the information that you want to show on your profile and to your friends at U of T!

Although the website is quite new and has some cool functions currently in development, I found the website to be very user-friendly. 

When asked about the inspiration for the site, Xu wrote, “The idea of MyUofT, a directory where UofT students could list themselves and discover other students and their Instagram, TikTok and more, really came from the experience of living through the current global pandemic.” 

This list of names can be found under the “Directory” page on the website. 

Furthermore, Xu added that students can socialize with people beyond their program of study, which is often difficult during the regular school year. 

The MyUofT team is constantly trying to improve the website. At the moment, a search function is being developed and the team “[hopes to] achieve sorting/filtering by campus/year/program.”

Xu and their team are very eager to see more people try MyUofT. “Gavin and I really take inputs and suggestions seriously,” Xu wrote. “There are numerous features and improvements on the site that came directly from community members (every input implemented is credited on the site).”