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Illustration by Patrick Daugherty
Illustrated by Patrick Daugherty

Despite the Namesake, Discord Brings Students Together

By Ethan Lauren

Discord is a hub of niche communities from school clubs, social gatherings, and a means to have students together in a class connect with one another. Chances are, you might be on Discord right now. Maybe you’ve seen it benefit yourself, if not only socially, but to help out in school. Though it has been around for years, it has found more popularity when COVID-19 came about and classes went online. The biggest perk of Discord is the versatility it gives users, from how simple it is to send images and messages or to create voice channels for your friends to hop in and talk.

Anthea Johnson, an English major, owns the server modeled after the old app, containing a little under a 100 members. She has seen Discord as a positive impact for students, helping them to have a place to vent, or get help with classes or campus-specific problems.

“Students are a lot closer with each other and we work together a lot easier, since all we need to do is send a quick message on the server and someone usually answers within a day.”

For Johnson and other students, Discord has been a place to make friends.

“Having these online communities did a lot for the mental health of students, including my own during the height of the pandemic as we were all isolated and our only interactions were through our screens.”

It’s for similar reasons that Ronnie Wilson, an English for education major, has found Discord to be beneficial during college. She found the transition to online classes difficult, but utilizing servers for her classes helped.

“In a Shakespeare class, I was struggling and knowing I was struggling there was a 100% chance other students were too. So I set it up and [all] of my classes had use of it.”

Wilson has used these services to help communicate due dates, absences, and assist group work and seen many students thankful to have this means of assistance. On and off again, the topic of unethical conduct, like cheating, comes up given how Discord rarely sees faculty oversight. Server managers, such as Johnson, have enforced rules to make sure that these spaces can remain open for those who need it.

Another usage of Discord that has seen popularity is how school clubs have been relying on it, in addition to Instagram or Twitter. Clubs like the Tabletop Gaming Club, featured elsewhere in this publication, have found ever-growing popularity of students looking to play games, or simply to hang out. The Writer’s Block, a screenwriting club, is another example of benefiting from being online.

Adam Moore, assistant professor, and the head of the screenwriting track, serves as the faculty advisor for the club and takes an active role to share events, job opportunities, and networking events for the club. With around 90 students in the screenwriting track, the discord channel has 300 members.

“During COVID, the Discord community has been extremely helpful in maintaining cohesion and community amongst the [students],” Moore said. “Without it, I’m not sure our students would be doing as well as they currently are.”

With the recently-added hub feature, you can scroll through any of the servers connected with LBSU. Now, I’m a part of so many servers that it’s almost impossible not to find somebody to chat with on any topic imaginable. Whatever you want to discuss, you can find like minded people on Discord.