coronavirus pandemic

UConn Students Create Platform to Support Mental Wellness and Connection During Pandemic

Refreshr is an online platform where students can send and receive personalized encouraging videos.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting traditional college life, leaving students taking classes online and having to stay distanced from many friends. Two University of Connecticut students are hoping to help their peers cope with the stressors of college life during a pandemic through a new platform, Refreshr.

“Refreshr is a way for students to connect with each other through one way video," explained Jamison Cote, a junior at the University of Connecticut who cofounded Refreshr with his classmate, Alex Kim.

“It is a way for our peers, our friends and other college students to be that accountability and support group for other students," added Kim.

The platform invites college students to fill out a form with basic information such as what school they attend and a fun fact about themselves. Once the form is filled out, Kim and Cote randomly match the student with another student. Each student records and receives a short video of encouragement. It is like getting a pen pal.

"Share these experiences and share some encouragement," said Cote. "A small act of kindness can go a long way.”

The students came up with the idea during an entrepreneurship course in April. They learned about a similar project and wanted to create a platform focusing solely on college students.

The website launched last month and Kim said that they have already connected students at the University of Connecticut and at colleges in several other states.

"Just these small sentences and words, even though it is only the span of 30 seconds, I think that can mean a lot to someone during this time," said Kim.

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