Dear UniSquare members,
Today we bring you some unfortunate news and our last email.
We have decided to close down UniSquare.me on the 1st of March.
To some, this may come as a shock, and for that we apologise.
But what a journey it has been! A bunch of crazy guys and gals in Melbourne decided at the end of 2011 to build a company and launch a social website to make uni a little more fun. The best part of the experience was the great people we’ve met along the way (you!) that let us have the fun we had in our orientation week campaigns, launching UniSquare.me, our statewide UniVoice singing contest and so many other experiences that will stay with us forever. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to reach out to tens of thousands of students doing what we did.
Unfortunately that dream has to come to an end very soon. We worked really hard in 2012 to create a community online and offline to ease new students into uni life. But our work has not been able to financially sustain the website and team and we are forced to face the hard reality of shutting down UniSquare.me. It has been a hard time for all of us.
Even so, the UniSquare family will never stop finding ways to make a difference in the lives of others whatever we might do in the future! Stay hungry, stay foolish.
David, Nigel, Andrew and the UniSquare team
p.s. After shutting down www.unisquare.me, all your UniSquare account information will be removed completely.
p.p.s. Our UniSquare.me emails will stop working shortly. If you’d like to get in touch with us, feel free to email David email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @davidmjx to keep updated on what we’re working on next.
Dear UniSquare members,
I had a great time at the Melbourne Accelerator Program session yesterday. Met with so many like minded and driven people. 3 years ago I had little more than a deep resolve to want to make uni a better experience for myself and everyone around me. Little did I know how one simple idea can grow into something larger.
Starting UniSquare at the end of last year with a group of crazy guys and girls has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Even though the site is still young, today, we’ve reached out to more than 60 contributors on the site and thousands of readers. I’m thrilled with the results and it pushes me to work even harder to meet the needs of the student community. I have seen enough to know that a unifying online platform for all student needs will benefit the university community greatly and will go the distance with my team to achieve it.
Where will this take the UniSquare team and all our generous supporters from here on? I can’t say for sure but we have so much planned for the site that, boy, am I excited. I really appreciate all your support. Will keep you in the loop on all future developments.
p.s. We want to make the Coffee Table super silky for users first. Then, we’ll have the next big site feature roll out in the coming months. Stay tuned for more details!
Orientation week was such an exhilarating experience for everyone in the UniSquare family. We literally met thousands of students from University of Melbourne and RMIT in the span of 4 days. And in that time, we managed to get 3700 sign ups. We told ourselves the week before that 3000 sign ups was the impossible dream. Looks like our dream came true during orientation week!
For everyone reading this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support in making this happen with us. We couldn’t have done it without you. And also thank you to all the companies and organisations* supporting us during orientation week, especially National Australia Bank who graciously sponsored our booths. And of course, thank you to the UniSquare family who performed so splendidly.
In that light, we are going to bring all that enthusiasm, passion and energy that you saw at Orientation Week into a series of upcoming events just for you. Our care about the student community here in Australia knows no bounds and we want to reach out to you through these events. More details will be posted up soon but these are some of what we’re planning to do this semester: Student Experience Fair (Unimelb), Night Market (Unimelb), The Mind Gym: Find Your Spark (Open), Patisserie Showcase (Open), Hackathon (Monash), FreeFlow (Open), The Storyboards (RMIT) and many more. This is a personal invitation from the entire UniSquare family for you to come join us at these events and enjoy yourself with us and your friends.
I’d also like to share a little bit on our website development. As you are aware, the platform is still an infant (beta!), but boy is it growing fast. We started off only recently as just an idea and now we have a variety of people posting stories and thoughts on it. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to finally have people use the site. We’ve received feedback** emails from many of you (we respond to all queries to the best of our ability!) and all your feedback will help shape the website into something that we can all love using together. Many users have been asking for more features to be implemented at a quicker pace and we hear you. We take this very seriously and will ramp up development speed***.
The UniSquare family will and have always put our users - you - first. I admit that sometimes we do stumble along the way to do things right, but we will continue to put all our efforts behind improving your experience on our website and at all our events. Our mantra is to bring the best user experience to all of our customers.
Our first step was to get this startup up and running and make a splash at Orientation Week. This is now our second step forward. Let’s walk the distance together. Where it will take us, I cannot tell. But the journey itself is so amazing that I cannot think of taking any other path. If you’d like, I will share more about our story here on our blog with you.
Till next time!
Founder | Agile Samurai | Engineering Student
* NAB, Esc, Sanchurro, Eckersley’s, Papa Rich, Melbourne University School of Engineering and many more!
** Feedback button is now on the left of the site. In any case, feel free to email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime!
*** Any software engineers and web developers who are interested in helping build UniSquare.me with us can also contact email@example.com. We’ve got a couple of out of the box projects going forward that we can’t wait to build with you.
…is now live on the site.
When logged in to www.unisquare.me, click “Settings” in top right of the header, just beside “Sign Out” to view your account details. Click Account to change your login email, or click Password to change your password.
We will next incorporate changing of your name, bio and etc :)
Don’t forget to leave us some feedback so that we can further address any of your ideas / questions / problems / praises / a non-trivial ratio mix of all the prior.
A good day to you and you,
Having spent the past six months drifting in clouds of big dreams, the loud thud of practicality grounding us like an anvil hanging from a hot air balloon can be a deafening sound. It’s all well and good saying that we want users to be able to ride unicorns into the heart of the sun by clicking a button on the site using their elbows, but unless there’s an open source web module in wordpress that provides unicorn saddling and elbow touch interface, it will take a fair amount of time and effort to get to that luxurious feature.
As Chief Product Officer, my role is to define the desired features and functionalities of the site, and converse with the developers on how to get there. If I may be allowed to indulge in my unicorn example, the latter involves building a user story map that steps through the various requirements to provide such a service to the user. A user story map is made of cards that represent on a granular level the behaviours of the site as expected by a user. These cards may say things such as, “I want to equip rocket gloves on the tip of my unicorn’s wings to make it go faster” and “I want a countdown to occur just as I’m lifting off to the sun”.
Given the inherent complexity in setting up a unicorn launch platform infrastructure from scratch, it is highly unlikely that any number of developers can address all these cards at once. Some cards will have higher priority than others, much as they may try to re-enact the first half of Animal Farm. As such, it is the responsibility of the CPO to select the cards deemed to be of higher priority and order them for the developers to work on. The structuring of such tasks requires an understanding of the expectations of the users, so that the first tasks are those that provide an interim functionality for the final vision of the feature.
At times, prioritisation can be tricky business. Should you provide the user with a unicorn first, or the sun for them to aspire to fly into? Does the unicorn have to be as magnificent as Pegasus before allowing them to interact with it, or is it okay to let them play with a feathered mule whilst development continues on other things such as safety harnesses?
On the flipside, the CPO must also be familiar with the technical demands of the features being dreamt up. Expecting the creation of the sun within a matter of minutes, and consequently making promises on the back of that expectation is a dangerous mistake. Like a boy crying wolf, eventually the users can become disillusioned by exorbitant claims that never get met.
But if we are “too realistic” in our expectations, it more often than not leads to unnecessarily long development times, by which time users will have gotten tired of waiting or otherwise forgotten. Or worse, the nearest unicorn farm comes by the epiphany to sell tickets to the moon. With multi-tongue-touch interface.
And so therein lies the difficulty of web development; how do you achieve that elusive balance of meeting the barely achievable demands of potential users - easily bored as they are in this digital apparition we call Earth - with the practical ability of the developers to produce?
“Step by Step”, so say the New Kids on the Block. And seeing as they were my (sister’s) childhood heroes, I’m inclined to heed their pearls of wisdom.
What we are doing at UniSquare is taking site development step by step, building the yellow brick road as we walk on it, toward full functionality. While it is still in beta, with what you see in www.unisquare.me we have tried to provide as fulfilling an experience as possible while we add to it everyday, whether it is a visible change that directly affects the users, or a backend alteration that sets up the groundwork for more visible features to come. At the very same time, it is still in beta, so what you see in www.unisquare.me is - I’m reluctant to call it “an unfinished product” - a mere few small steps in the buildup to the final run in before that giant 9m long jump.
Now that I’m done making excuses, let’s take a look at what we’ve managed to get on the beta site so far:
- Signing up for an account
- Browsing and reading articles presented as dynamic Tiles
- Uploading an article with an accompanying image
- Student Offers section containing exclusive student discounts for UniSquare members
- My Articles section containing articles written by the logged in user
For one and a half months’ of work, that’s decent, but in this hectic startup environment we’re going to have to speed things up a little in order to meet our users’ demands and expectations.
What we have planned in the release schedule:
- User profile and account settings
- Browsing through a list of other Authors on the site
- Subscribing to your favourite Authors
It’s not quite unicorn rocket boots, but rest assured we have the sun right in our sights. Eventually, www.unisquare.me will be a beautiful mosaic of insightful articles by the best writers around campus. With your help and feedback, we can all lay the bricks along the path to our version of Emerald City, where there won’t be a dictatorial wizard living in ridiculous extravagance. Instead, it will be your community, your voice at university.
This is where we want to get to.
Step by stepLittle by little, this will be your place to share your thoughts and experiences about university.
In the meantime, we are as aforementioned still in beta. Feel free to sign up here to create an account if you haven’t already, or sign in and start posting if you have. Do drop us a line any time by clicking Feedback on the site, or if you’d rather, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our very best to get back to you and your great ideas!
Thanks for listening, and have a lovely day
Those of us who have been studying in Melbourne for a couple years already know how amazing it is to live here. You can go out any night of the week and discover some new unheard of bar.You can get cheap food whenever you want and there are always other uni students around you can meet and chat with.
For example while I was writing this, a guy walked in. After chatting for a while I learnt that he was from Norway and studying engineering. There are not many cities where it’s almost expected that if you’re young, you must be studying at one of the nearby universities and are up for a chat. This instant sense of familiarity and having something in common allows for easy conversation. How many times have you had this conversation? “Where are you studying?” “Yeah cool, what are you studying?” Within 10/15 minutes you’ve figured out if you want to keep talking to them or not. Because of this it’s easy to meet new people everyday.
The other great thing is that we are not the only ones who know how awesome it is to study in Melbourne. Students from all over the world come here each year which make for a culturally diverse university experience. It’s not uncommon to have a few people from different countries within your circle of uni friends. The downside of this is that there is constant food for that travel bug we all posses.
While I have not lived in Melbourne my whole life I have begun to think of myself as a Melbournian and I get a kick out of the fact that we are ranked higher then Sydney. Ha! Take that, all you Sydney suites. I am ok with the fact that we follow Paris and London although not really sure how financially friendly these places are. However this ranking system has made me want to visit Boston and see what all the fuss is about. So thanks guys for giving me another place to put on my travel itinerary.
Check out the original article here.
What are your thoughts on Melbourne life as a student? Have you studied somewhere else? Is Melbourne really that good?
The big romantic day is fast approaching and while I look around the office, many of us guys are looking a little frazzled thinking of cunning new ways to take out the girl of their dreams on this wonderfully romantic and expensive day. Why yes it is that time of year where the roses and chocolates are flowing and the girls are walking with a spring in their step with anticipation for the big events for the day. Valentine’s Day is upon us. So I wonder, what are we here at UniSquare doing on Valentine’s day? Well working of course! But if all were ideal and we had the full day free, what would we at UniSquare want to be doing on a wonderful day like this?
Picnic in the park?
The weather is fine, so why take a nice long walk in the park with a picnic hamper in one hand and the hand of your darling in the other. There is a little French Deli on Lygon Street with le petite sausage, la fromage, antipasto, baguettes, pattes, mustards, jams and pretty much everything needed for a picnic in the park. The good man will stop by the grocer’s, buy some grapes and apples and huzzah! He has now the recipe for The World’s Most Perfect Great Picnic. So with the date in one hand and the hamper in the other, where to go? Personally, I would recommend the Flagstaff Gardens. Located more toward the business district of the city, the undulating hills, lush grass and beautiful trees provide a backdrop for the perfect date. If not Flagstaff, why not make a trip to the gardens at the Royal Exhibition Building. Being close to the city, the gardens are just a step away from some of Melbourne’s best restaurants on Lygon Street.
Dinner On Lygon
So your date in the park has gone swimmingly and you are in the area, why not step up for dinner as well. Nothing sings romance more than dinner in a quaint Italian restaurant. They say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so why not fulfill your carnal pleasures with fine Italian food. Enjoy a nice long string of spaghetti and remake that scene from the Lady and the Tramp and enjoy a nice pasta sauce filled kiss. Of course you could try to do that scene from “When Harry Met Sally” but that might not be as well kosher for Valentine’s Day. Add to it all a fine glass of wine and the night may just be perfect.
Home cooked dinner
But hey, restaurants aren’t for everyone. Sure they may be nice, but the home comforts are just as delightful. Cook up a storm with a signature dish hastily copied from blogs such as Citrus and Candy or The Fat Kid Inside. Watch her eyes light up with wonder with a flash of the pan, the skill of the blade and the hint of playfulness with thyme. There was one recipe for braised lamb shanks with red wine sauce from citrus and candy which just made me drool all over my laptop keyboard. Chuck in a few candles, slow jazz and well looks like another perfect night.
The man with no limits.
Maybe it’s cliche, but a fine restaurant on Valentine’s Day still holds its money’s worth in anyone’s books. I remember going to this restaurant a few years ago and it was delectable. No. 35 at the Sofitel on Collins has been around for quite some time but the food is delicious. A high class restaurant with a spectacular view of the city and North Melbourne, for the man who wants to impress the girl of his dreams this is the place to go. Don’t be surprised to see a few proposals here as the backdrop of the shimmering city lights with the elegant dishes would make any girls knees turn to jelly.Though it was a few years since I’ve been there, the desserts were a highlight and, well the view, that was the clincher for me.
But hey, Valentine’s Day is not for everyone and well, some of us do find that Singles Awareness Day is that perfect opportunity to get our big spoon and get reacquainted with out good friend Sara Lee for a nice (not so) little serving of her Ultra Chocolate ice cream.
Top Image courtesy of The Cupcake Family
(Source: , via pyrobot)
UniSquare is looking for contributions for a new online magazine aiming to enhance the university experience for students in Melbourne.
UniSquare’s ‘Coffee Table’ is an open platform for members of the community to come together and share words, ideas, images, wisdom and anything else they believe should be heard about, all in one versatile space.
Although contributions to the Coffee Table will eventually become limited to university students, we are welcoming anyone who wishes to connect with the students of Melbourne via our website. By joining now you will play an important role in shaping the Coffee Table, while simultaneously building your own portfolio and readership.
With the start of the semester merely weeks away, and the launch of the website looming, we have chosen a theme of ‘Beginning’.
The articles will first be published in conjunction with the launch of the website. This is set for the 20 February, during Melbourne University and RMIT’s Orientation Week.
If you’re interested in becoming involved or have any questions about UniSquare and the Coffee Table, contact email@example.com