Two graduate students at Dartmouth are on a mission to make the opinions of college campuses more public through a new web polling site called open-vote.com. Discerning the student consensus on issues can be a challenge, the creators of the site say, and their project attempts to provide that service.
The site is not yet open to students here, but is coming soon. Open Vote co-founder Colin Van Ostern said Harvard is “definitely on our short list of schools to add.”
Currently running at Dartmouth College, Drexel University, and Washington University in Saint Louis, the Web site polls students on topics ranging from which politician they will vote for in a primary to the less serious questions of favorite foods and attractive qualities of the opposite sex.
“We feel that it is hard to see the true opinions of a campus, and an open Web site was a good way to make these opinions more transparent,” Van Ostern said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Van Ostern, a first-year graduate student at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, founded the Web site with classmate Peter Freedman, a second-year at the Tuck School. The two thought up the idea after finals last year at a local bar, and say they are thrilled with their project’s results since its launch in September. The site has recorded over 50,000 votes already from its first two test campuses. [SEE CORRECTION BELOW]
While the Web site has used local political debates to open the Web polls for particular schools, the site’s questions become user-generated following sufficient use by students.
The site will also soon be fully integrated with Facebook, allowing members to display their stances on poll questions search for friends’ opinions.
Colleges will soon be added to the Open Vote network following requests from students at over 25 different schools across the country, including Harvard.
The Dec. 12 news article "College Opinion Poll Site Launched" gave an incorrect name for Tuck School of Business student Jason Freedman. His first name is not Peter.