Entrepreneurial

Bringing order to the chaos of student life

November 4, 2010

As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, Jay Rodrigues had a tough time balancing his academic studies, work in student government and his fraternity commitments.

“There was no way of communication,” said Rodrigues about organizing his life on campus, adding he would also miss a lot of live music events, because he would hear about them after the fact. “It was so disorganized.”

His college conundrum led Rodrigues to create DormNoise, a Web-based calendar tool that helps students organize more efficiently.

“We are truly the only interactive student calendar system out there,” said the 21-year-old. “We bring order to the chaos.”

DormNoise works by letting students view the campus calendar, student group calendars and their own personal calendar. Faculty and administrators can also participate. Users can organize and sync them all together under one Web program or on the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android smartphones. DormNoise can also be used within Facebook.

The name DormNoise stemmed from Rodrigues’s own experience living in a dormitory.

“I wanted a name that had a universal college experience behind it,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what time it is, there’s always a dull drone, this buzz in dorms. There’s always someone up on the computer, listening to music, talking, laughing or whatever.”

DormNoise recently announced its first customers: Bay State College, Bryant & Stratton College and Newbury College. Rodrigues said he currently has about 20,000 users.

Colleges have three options of how to pay for DormNoise:

  • A subscription plan which costs $2 per student
  • A corporate sponsorship plan which covers the cost
  • A combination of the two

Despite overwhelmingly positive student feedback, it currently takes colleges six to 18 months before they sign up for the program. Rodrigues said his main obstacle is to speed up that process.

Ironically, Rodrigues can’t offer DormNoise to his alma mater.

“The University of Pennsylvania has an internal rule that they can’t license products from companies run by students,” he said. “You can bet once I graduate, I’ll be knocking on their door.”

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