Foursquare extends location-based check-ins to college campuses

In an effort to extend its reach to college students, burgeoning location check-in service Foursquare announced its “Foursquare for Universities” program today. The program looks to help students and staff connect with each other and explore their campus by offering its popular site-wide check-in, tips, and badges offering in a centralized, targeted way.

The startup has partnered with 20 universities for its launch, out of which it is launching pages for Harvard, Stanford, and Syracuse today, with the rest likely to follow in the coming weeks. Representatives or eager students from universities not currently in the program can apply to join.

Once equipped with a page, universities can have students “follow” their accounts, and use the page to broadcast messages and activities. Students and staff, meanwhile, can share and discover “Tips” when they check-in — information on buildings, landmarks, traditions, secrets, shortcuts around campus, etc. — and earn badges and discounts. For example, the campus bookstore may choose to run a special for people who hold the “Bookworm” badge, earned by checking in frequently to the library.

The geolocation service already has somewhat of a reputation for its young, urban “hipster” demographic, and this is a sensible move to reach out to a broader, yet similarly poised audience. College students may not be based in as urban a location as the service has targeted to date, but there are lots of them, and you can bet they want to keep up with the latest new thing in town as much as anyone else.

Universities have been a great traction point for startups looking to gain critical mass. Lest we forget, they were almost single-handedly responsible for Facebook’s emergence. So it’s not surprising to see Foursquare seek out that direction.

Foursquare is based in New York and was founded in 2008 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. The company raised $20 million back in July from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures.

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