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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Former student’s site catching on nationally

    An informational Web site created by a recent UA graduate has spread to hundreds of universities nationwide since launching on campus in February.

    UofInfo.com is set up for about 300 schools to allow a small group of students to pre-register. As each school fills its quota, the site will be opened up to the rest of the students, said Jared Horowitz, the site’s creator and CEO.

    The first 100 students to contribute information about on- and off-campus businesses to their school’s site receive free T-shirts and backpacks, he said.

    Horowitz, who graduated in

    For instance, if there’s a liquor store and they’re hard on IDs, (students) can say on the site and the reviews, ‘Don’t go there if you have a fake.’

    -Jared Horowitz,
    UofInfo.com CEO and creator

    May with a degree in regional development, recently redesigned the site to make it more exciting.

    “”We’re opening up to five schools in less than three days,”” Horowitz said.

    The site’s main benefit is the rating option, through which students can browse peers’ opinions of local businesses chosen by students, Horowitz said, and “”based on their personal opinions, we get the ‘best of the best’ categories.””

    “”For instance, if there’s a liquor store and they’re hard on IDs, (students) can say on the site and the reviews, ‘Don’t go there if you have a fake,’ “” he said. “”On other review sites that just wouldn’t be proper, but it fits here.””

    Among the site’s quirks include businesses’ daily specials listed in order of category; file storage; important UA links; local WiFi Hotspots; printable coupons; a forum for students to post general questions; and student photos.

    “”We have (professional) photographers who go around to the bars and the parties and football games and take pictures and put them up on the Web site,”” Horowitz said.

    “”I think it is a very valuable tool for the students, above and beyond what they get from the university,”” said Jan Hardesty, a member of the UA marketing department and one of Horowitz’s former teachers. “”They can rate the services they need and use.””

    A section for information on local student-posted events became available this morning.

    “”Any student can go on and can view people’s events,”” Horowitz said. “”When you post an event, it’s open to students only and they can view it, send it to a friend or see who is attending.””

    Students can also create profiles and upload pictures into a photo gallery that can be viewed by any students from that school who are enrolled in the site, Horowitz said, “”just like
    on Facebook.””

    Students can also choose to enroll in the site for personal use only.

    “”You can build a list of your favorite businesses,”” Horowitz said. “”You always need those numbers on hand, but you’re not going to put them into your phone. You can have favorites and make those public or private.””

    “”Students benefit because it’s free to use and was built by a former college student who has experienced being on the UA campus,”” said Jessica Marshall, a retailing and consumer
    sciences senior.

    If students post a review, vote in a survey on a forum, recommend a new restaurant or recommend a friend, they accumulate points that can eventually result in prizes, including iPods and travel vouchers, Horowitz said.

    “”Stuff like that is an incentive to not only be a part of the site but to do something for yourself,”” he said.

    Horowitz said he has a soft spot for the smaller, local businesses.

    “”I’m more willing to help out a Tucson local than a Papa John’s to make a quick buck right now,”” he said. “”It’s more about getting local businesses involved. I want to help the students and I want to help (the businesses).””

    Before starting his site, Horowitz designed a site for Steve Madden shoes.

    “”I love doing Web sites, and I knew I was graduating, so I started thinking, ‘What can I do that will keep me involved in the Web site business and keep me involved in school?’ I didn’t want to graduate and go to a nine-to-five job.””

    Horowitz came up with the idea for UofInfo.com his senior year and spent most of the year finishing it. The name came naturally.

    “”‘UofInfo’ kind of clicks because it grabs from every direction,”” Horowitz said. “”There’s a lot of Web sites out there that are for college students, but are just for restaurants or other things. There’s nothing that combines it all like this.””

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