A group of Penn students are bringing the Tinder-like friendship-matching app they created to all of the Ivy League schools on April 6.
The expansion, which coincides with Ivy Day, when regular decision acceptances are released, aims to allow incoming first years and underclassmen to make connections with their classmates through the mobile app called Berri. Although students can only currently match with students at their own university, the Berri team has plans to add an intercollegiate matching feature that will allow users to match with students at other schools. Berri has already launched at Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, and the University of Maryland, with nearly 3,000 total users and 18,000 unique matches.
On Tuesday, the app will allow students from each school to sign up and create anonymous profiles. Beginning this weekend, students will be able to match with their classmates by swiping right. Once students match, they will be able to send messages to each other and identify themselves if they choose.
Engineering first year Helena Zhang, who recently joined Berri's design team, said launching Berri at all of the Ivies on Ivy Day will help accepted first-year students form connections with each other before arriving at school.
“I used Berri before joining the team, and it was really helpful to talk to people with similar interests," Zhang said. "I feel that would be really helpful for incoming [first years] to find new friends and try to be part of the community.”
Wharton sophomore Donny Gu, a member of the Berri marketing team, said that Berri is always looking to launch Berri at more schools to help students build connections with each other.
“Since Ivy decisions are coming out, we just thought this was a great opportunity to get everyone connected,” Gu said.
College junior Victor Ehrnrooth, a member of the marketing and logistics team, said Berri wants to focus on helping first years and sophomores because they may be struggling to make new friends and connections during the virtual semester.
“You're stuck in that situation where you basically have to [direct message] people on Zoom, and [in my] personal opinion, [it's] not ideal,” Ehrnrooth said.
After launching at Penn in September 2020, Berri was able to expand to the Ivy League through team members' connections with students at other universities, as well as through reaching out to other schools’ class boards and student councils, Gu said.
Incoming Wharton and Engineering first year Alyssa Nie said she thinks intercollegiate matching is a cool idea because it would allow users to meet interesting people across all schools.
Wharton first year Pragyat Agrawal, a Berri user, also said he is excited by the opportunity for intercollegiate matching.
“Absolutely yes, if I’m able to expand my network, that’s absolutely wonderful,” he said.
As an international student who lived in India during the fall semester, Agrawal, like many other international students, said he faced difficulties meeting people. Because of this, he said that Berri helped him connect with Penn students and gave him people to meet up with once he arrived on campus this spring.
Agrawal said he met seven or eight of the people he matched with on Berri in person, and he also exchanged contact information with many of his other matches.
“Berri is a really, really good platform," Agrawal said. "Some of my best friends, I’ve met through Berri.”