Tag Archives: Kickstarter

Students going global: It takes a crowd

The first question most study abroad candidates have is how to fund their overseas excursion. Most college students don’t have a bottomless pit of money to dig into when they want to pursue such grand and advantageous trips. However, thanks to the same technology that is making wealthy men out of making a potato salad, students are now raising money through crowdfunding.

Students should take advantage of global technology. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Students should take advantage of global technology. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

Crowdfunding has been a known to help many businesses, individuals, and charities over the year by allowing contributors from all over the world to give funds to worthy investments via Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe and other hosting sites. This in turn can be taken advantage of in many ways, which RU students have been discovering as they search for ways to enhance their college experience.

There are, of course, both advantages and risks to such an innovative way to raising money.

The benefits include the customization of a personal profile for the candidate, much like a more intimate application. Feedback, however, is more immediate than a scholarship application.

Risks involve the reputation of the user — such a public display does mean that everyone has access to your progress. And of course, there is always the risk of failure due to the public fear of abuse for such modes of fundraising. However, with a smaller goal and the marketing vehicle of friends and family, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for students.

Those of you who have been in search of just such a replacement or supplement to financial aid, scholarships, and loans can now look at websites specifically created to host such campaigns, like Fund My Travel. Already these attempts have had some success, such as RU’s own Jodie McKaughan who used crowdfunding to finance two study abroad internships this past summer.

With the use of global technology, it only makes sense that students should take advantage of the global advantages.

Internet Slowdown Day (Or: Why do they keep doing these things?)

On Sept. 10, the Internet and its users were once again affected by online supporters of net neutrality. This time, the protest was named “Internet Slowdown Day” and, as the name suggests, some participating content hosting sites put a “loading” symbol atop their pages. Other participants hosted banners, glitchy videos, and other ads promoting the cause in related ways.

Participating sites this time around included Netflix, Tumblr, Etsy, Kickstarter, and Urban Dictionary. Even Google decided to take an active role in Internet Slowdown Day, which it hadn’t in previous freedom of the Internet protests. All sites involved, of course, asked their users to contact the FCC and local political representatives in order to prevent the end of net neutrality.

"Internet Slowdown Day" is a protest for Net Neutrality. Graphic from Daily Dot
“Internet Slowdown Day” is a protest for Net Neutrality. Graphic from Daily Dot

And what exactly is net neutrality, one might be wondering?

Basically, net neutrality is about a lot of complicated and business related things that some of us normal people just don’t get. It looks like, at the end of the day, we’re talking about keeping the Internet a neutral ground for all users, regardless if they’re browsing or trying to make their own Facebook/Reddit/Netflix.

For starters, the Internet is a pretty equal ground for anyone trying to get a business going, a book published, or any other endeavor for a minimal price. However, if net neutrality (the idea that all content hosters are entitled to the same speed) is taken away, this may change.

If this is taken away, it will be because the FCC and lawmakers have given permission to service providers (like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T) to charge for speed. It’s basically like putting in SmartPass lanes for the sites who can afford it (like Netflix) and allowing everyone else to be left in the dust. Because, honestly, how many of us will want to use sites that take ten times longer to load, no matter how much better their content might be? Would we all be using Facebook if during the initial years it had loaded at the pace of an AOL connection? Yeah, didn’t think so.