Welcome alumni, shellers, and partners 💞 | Building together

admin 🎓 Ⓜ️
Managing a community is tough, especially without the typical physicality and tactility of in-person events. Over the past year, we've let in batches that haven't yet experienced the dynamic of a late-night Grind Night, a Shell Retreat, or just kickin' it on a bean bag. 

How we got here

Regardless, a dashboard for Shellers, our partners, aspiring shellers, and alumni was needed, pandemic or not. Some of you may know and even had used tin.umd.edu, my vision of an interconnected campus, focused on innovation rather than one-upping. And if you haven't, don't worry, it didn't work out. I pitched it to every organization on campus and every center for innovation, seeking their buy in to use the platform and engage together. Many people liked it, some people loved it, but ultimately the plan was too ambitious and conflicted with more institutional plans for community building. 

A few years ago, my.startupshell.org was formed to solved this issue, running on Wordpress. That was my first experience after joining Shell and was easy and welcoming, but the solution required a lot of maintenance and hacky solutions to adopt everything we needed. The dashboard needed to:
  1. Be a source of truth for Shellers - Members needed a reliable place to find and be notified of events, announcements, connect with members, etc.
  2. Allow for a preferred sign in - Although having a @startupshell.org email is great, it was not necessarily convenient, especially after graduation. We saw a lot of requests for flexibility to use a personal email.
  3. Facilitate conversation - Shell's community is in a lot of places: Facebook, GroupMe, Slack... GroupMe works well for current students and immediate updates, but many people, especially newer batches, just don't have a Facebook (or deleted theirs). It's been around forever and probably won't be going away, but just doesn't offer the same customizability. Slack is awesome for the Directors.
  4. Searchability - Having a super search bar for everything Startup Shell is super useful, and this platform has it. Find members, events, and resources all in the search bar above.

The Platform

That brings us to this, a consolidated solution focused on Startup Shell rather than connecting the campus. Moving forward, this will be home for:
  • Mentorship - If you're an alumni, partner, or want to give back by helping rising doers, click here to sign up as a mentor.
  • Events - Events hosted by us and by others around campus will be posted here and on our website. Join the space to get notified.
  • Discussions & Opportunities - The Discussions tab is public, so anyone can view and post there. For conversations with just Shellers, we have a secret section 🤫. Share all your opportunities in Opportunities.
  • Resources - resources.startupshell.org will be deprecated and redirected here. Some are public, but most are private, for Shellers only. We also built a Startup Guide at UMD for easy access to campus resources
  • Member Directory - Replacing a Coda document, find everyone involved with the Startup Shell community. Shellers get their own tags by batch, if they are a founder/fellow, and if they are an alumni. Click on Map to see a map of everyone across the globe. This works dynamically based on your profile, so enter City, State under Location to show yours. (In the works, just squashing some bugs)

Just the beginning

It's just getting started, but I'm sure there are things to improve and add. Questions and comments, just reply below. Let's build this thing together.
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