“If you build it, they will come,” is the quote posted on the new website, EduHookUps.Com. And after its launch just a few short months ago, come they did. The new social networking site attracted over 10,000 college students to its forums. The controversial site provides a place for students to post anonymous ads, looking for partners interested in having “casual sex.”
“Jessica Cominsetta, a junior at the University of Chicago, posted an ad on, EduHookUps.com, reading, “Ready for fun, seeking hot stud, for a bedroom run.” Soon after the post went up, a user named “ChicagoBigShot” responded, and they set up a meeting place: outside the student recreation center two hours before midnight. They both would be wearing red.
Cominsetta said they had “casual sex” and parted ways. “I’m not sure what his name was, I never asked,” Cominsetta admitted. “I didn’t want to know. I don’t plan on seeing him ever again, it was just sex.”
The website is spreading throughout colleges across the country. It recently announced that the Stony Brook University forum has gone live. “The universities in New York are vital to our expansion,” said one of the sites founders, “Danny,” who asked not to be identified due to privacy reasons. “Stony Brook is our first SUNY School to join the site, due to the number of requests we received from students.”
Two undergraduate students, who wish to remain anonymous, first launched the website in early March at Chicago University. “When the site first launched it got 300 to 500 Google searches a day,” said one of the creators. “Now we receive over 3,500 hits on the site every day.”
“We never expected this to take off outside our home campus,” Danny said. “It started only as a fun project and we had no intention to make a personal profit.” When asked about the sites recent popularity and presence at the school, Chicago University said they had no comment.
The website quickly expanded to Ohio State, Penn State, Boston University and Harvard within the first month of it opening. “The more universities added, the more news we stirred up,” said the creators. “Our primary source of advertising and news is split between television news programs and Facebook,” they added.
According to the developers of the site, “The administration at both Chicago University and Loyola University both expressed concern about the site.”
EduHookUps is not affiliated with any of the universities on its website, but gives schools an opportunity to have a link to their health centers on the site. The site does also offer a “Safety” page where students can get tips about using the site in the safest way possible. “We encourage safe sex,” said one of the creators, “but we can’t take any legal liability to something that may happen as a result of using the site.”
Stanford University is one of three colleges that have a link to the school’s “Sexual Health Peer Resource Center.” A representative from Stanford’s Health Center, who wished to remain anonymous, feels that this is the only way to promote any kind of safe sex associated with the site. “The website is attracting thousands of our students and based on what we hear, they are using the site to have one-time sexual encounters with an array of different individuals,” said the representative. “Any information we have to educate students about safe sex is better than nothing. I just hope they are reading it.”
Students from Stanford University say the website has made going to class more exciting. Andrea Paladeno, a sophomore at the university, said she has “hooked-up” with five different men through the site. “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Paladeno said. “People use Facebook and Craigslist for the same thing; it’s just not advertised exclusively for sex.”
The English major said that students around campus have been buzzing about the new site. “Everyone is on it, and everyone is talking about it,” Paladeno explains. “Nothing exciting usually happens here, so this is a big deal.”
Stanford University did not wish to comment on the recent development of the schools forum on EduHookUps.com, but they did release a statement stating that the University does not support or endorse the website, EduHookUps.com.
Corrine Clevensky, a senior at the university, says the mood of the school has changed since the arrival of EduHookUps. “More and more people are beginning to talk to each other on campus,” says Clevensky. “There has even been just ‘Hook Up’-themed parties,” he added.
Matt Schneider, an avid EduHookUps.Com user, says the website has given the school a new atmosphere. “It’s like Northwestern got a face-lift,” jokes the Biology major. “Finally a website where students can just be honest and say, ‘I want sex.’”
Stony Brook students seem to be excited about the launch of the website, which went live on April 26. A user of the site, who did not want to be named, said she has already had encounters with men through the site. “I hooked up with a guy last week,” said the sophomore. “It’s a great place to meet people who are interested in the same things as you.” The engineering major said she’s not afraid of sexually transmitted diseases. “I protect myself against disease, and I’m smart about where we meet—always in public and I always tell a friend.”
Stony Brook seems prepared for the arrival of the site, having a number of resources available to students in order help protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases. Kathleen Valerio, a health educator at Stony Brook University, works for The Center for Prevention and Outreach, which offers many events to promote and educate students on healthy choices. “At the beginning of each semester the RAs are given a packet from the CPO, which contains condoms and information packets to be given out in a constructive way to residents,” Valerio said. The HIV prevention material is funded by the New York State’s HIV Prevention grant which Stony Brook applied for and received last May. The CPO also offers HIV testing events, counseling for students, along with training for residential hall employees, staff and campus groups on well-being and healthy development.
Kim, a senior at Stony Brook who did not want to give her last name, says the school takes steps to educate students. “In comparison to other schools, Stony Brook has a wide variety of programs and events all designated to health awareness.” The commuter at Stony Brook said even though she is not a resident, she received a packet from the CPO that included condoms and educational information. However, she said the concept of the website is unethical. “I think it’s dangerous and disgusting that students are using this site,” Kim said. “Even with Stony Brook’s effort to protect students, the website gives us a bad name.”
Eduhookups.com is certainly growing in publicity, being featured on The Today Show, CBS Chicago and on Jay Leno. The site’s controversy has been largely debated in the media and as a result, the website decided to add a “Wall of Shame” where all negative press about the network can be shared. The founders of the site want people to keep an open mind, referring to the websites motto, “Where fun comes to thrive.”
Stony Brook University had no comment about the website. The creators of the site said earlier this week that they will be including all credited, four-year universities in the United States to their website, resulting in over 1,807 school forums by the end of the academic year. The creators of the site said they are moving full speed ahead. “We are hoping to add more features to the site and continue expanding,” said Danny. “We currently have over 350,000 visitors to the site a week, and we’re looking to double that number.”