SayHi, a social networking app for Loyola and DePaul students, has been released on the Apple App Store, according to SayHi CEO Caroline Ingeborn. It’s a free app with no subscription needed to access its features, according to the SayHi app.
New Social App SayHi Targeted at Loyola Students Released
SayHi, a communication app designed for Loyola and DePaul University students was released on the Apple App Store March 14. SayHi is free to use for all students at Loyola and DePaul, as there is no subscription required to join the app.
The social networking app enables Loyola students to connect and meet in person on their own time, SayHi CEO and co-founder Caroline Ingeborn wrote in an email to The Phoenix.
Ingeborn said the launch of the app was a collaborative effort between the SayHi team and students from DePaul and Loyola. The DePaul and Loyola ambassadors had different responsibilities in the creation of the app.
“We connected via Instagram with students a year ago and the responsibilities have varied,” Ingeborn wrote in an email to The Phoenix. “Responsibilities included content creation, product feedback and distributing flyers.”
Sevy Hayes, a SayHi Loyola student ambassador and first-year majoring in criminal justice and psychology, said she has been getting the word out about SayHi around the Lake Shore Campus (LSC) by passing out postcards and encouraging students to put their names on the waitlist to be the first to use the app.
SayHi posted an instagram about looking for students to help out with the app, Hayes decided to respond, she wrote in an email to The Phoenix.
“I think it will be really helpful,” Hayes said. “And I think a lot of people will find it useful, because an app like this will help you meet other people that you may have not met. It will bring a greater community sense rather than just like your individual bubble.”
Ingeborn said a few hundred Loyola students have already joined the waitlist for SayHi before its release.
A user will need to confirm their status as a Loyola student by verifying with their email to use the app. They will be asked a variety of questions such as their pronouns and hometown. Students can also write a bio to share more about themselves, according to Ingeborn.
“On the basis of this information, we [ the app] then matches you with a group of people that you can flip between,” Ingeborn said. “You can flip back and forth and decide who you want to say hi to, you can say hi to as many people as you want to.”
Students tap the yellow SayHi button if they are interested in connecting with a student, according to the SayHi app. Once they have both sent an emoji to one another, they can start messaging, Ingeborn wrote in an email to The Phoenix.
“If we are each other’s connections, that is when we can see each other’s full profile,” Ingeborn said. “That is when the bio comes in and you can see other details that you can’t see at first.”
Once they have gone through the first group of people, they can wait for a response or invite people to SayHi, according to Ingeborn.
Maddie Bieniarz, a DePaul student ambassador at SayHi, said the app is still in its early stages and more features will be added as feedback from students comes in.
“Being able to ask people questions through messaging is always good,” Bieniarz, a public relations and advertising major, said. “I would like a way to set up events. I’ve seen it in other apps where you can set up an in-person event and have people RSVP to it.”
Ingeborn started SayHi along with co-founder Vishal Kapur in 2021. They previously worked on an app called Leap for retirees and another app called Little Disco, a video call app that connects students randomly with one another, The DePaulia previously reported.
Ingeborn learned about Loyola in early December after Bieniarz informed her it was a school not far from DePaul. Ingeborn said she was intrigued by the rivalry Loyola has with DePaul and wanted to try the SayHi concept there.
“They said it was a great school and they know a lot about it,” Ingeborn said. “They wanted to talk to students at Loyola and see what they want and that’s where it organically evolved.”
Ingeborn interviewed Loyola students in January about their social media use and how they connect with students. Most said if the professor didn’t pair them up with a classmate to do an assignment, it was likely they wouldn’t introduce themselves to their classmates, according to Ingeborn.
“When we spoke to students at Loyola it was very clear that people wanted to break out of their bubble,” Ingeborn said. “And that it was hard for students to say hi to people.”
SayHi started to build the app in January, Kapur wrote in an email to The Phoenix. He said creating the app in a short amount of time was challenging.
“It is always hard to know if you have built out enough of a product to be able to see if the core interaction works versus building for too long on something that was never going to work,” Kapur wrote.
SayHi’s IOS operating system ensures the smoothest high quality interaction, Kapur wrote in an email to The Phoenix. Kapur said he hopes to continue making improvements on the app after its release.
It hasn’t been released on Android devices yet, but SayHi plans to do this in the future, according to Ingeborn.
SayHi is offering a buy one get one free bubble tea deal for the first 50 Loyola students who show the app at Gong Cha bubble tea near the LSC March 14, Ingeborn wrote.
“My hope is that people start saying hi to each other more,” Ingeborn said. “My dream scenario, would be to see Loyola students making connections and build from there and facilitate deeper relationships.”
Featured image by Holden Green