Student-made website aims to help students find events

Anna Vignet/File

The first few weeks of any semester present a massive melange of events that offer UC Berkeley students the opportunity to meet, network and learn about organizations.

However, sorting through all these social opportunities can be a challenge — one that campus sophomores Hardik Agrawal and Sanchit Bareja hope to help students tackle. Their website, CalHaps, which launched Aug. 18, compiles a list of on- and off-campus events on a map so students can see where and how far they will have to travel.

In the eight days since the website’s launch, 2,500 people have visited the site, and about half have visited multiple times, according to Agrawal.

Since Agrawal is a member of the campus chapter of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, the website currently features mostly fraternity and sorority events, but Agrawal and Bareja hope to expand the listings to include concerts and events from non-Greek student groups.

“Berkeley has an events website, but it has some of the most boring events,” Agrawal said. “By boring, I mean that these aren’t mainstream events. We wanted to focus on parties and other social events because every Friday night, your friends ask you if you know about anything going on. (The site) fulfills a basic need.”

For now, Agrawal and Bareja are personally soliciting events and posting them to the site by hand, but they added a submission form on the site on Saturday so organizations can send in their own event information. Additionally, students can mention @calhaps on Twitter in order to submit events.

The website joins a growing group of smartphone and Web applications aiming to bring UC Berkeley students together, including Ntro and At the Pool. Whereas those sites require users to register before they can begin connecting with others, visitors to CalHaps can access all of the events on the site immediately, which UC Berkeley sophomore Pranati Reddy said makes the site convenient to use.

“While Facebook events still are a reliable method of keeping up with all these concerts and parties, CalHaps just condenses them onto one page and with the map feature it makes partying a lot more convenient,” Reddy said in an email.

Bareja, who spent about a week coding to get the site to where it is now, said the next step is to allow, but not require, users to register on the site so they can receive personalized event recommendations and see which events friends are attending. He and Agrawal agreed their priority is not to turn a profit by adding advertisements or instituting a registration fee.

“Right now, our goal isn’t to monetize,” Agrawal said. “Our goal is just to provide students with the information they want.”