Goodbye Facebook Groups, Hello YU Hotspot

By: Rebecca Hia  |  February 17, 2014

As an avid Facebook user, I stumbled across a post for, a new website for YU students which combines many of the features of popular social media websites. I had the pleasure of interviewing the website’s developer, Michael Peres, a Computer Science graduate from Canada who currently studies Engineering and Mathematics in Yeshiva University. Michael has been a part of many organizations which help others in Canada and now that he studies in YU, he constantly thinks of ways to help others. Besides YU Hotspot, Michael has recently created the website, for Hopebook Inc., a non-profit organization of which he is an active member and which was created by YU students to help those fighting cancer, and, a ride sharing network to benefit the Jewish community which aggregates information from various Facebook groups.

YU Hotspot offers current information and fresh ideas to YU students, faculty, staff, and anyone affiliated with YU. Some of YU Hotspot’s features include: a blogging system for personal posts on topics of interest to the YU community, ride sharing in conjunction with (which is especially useful for long driving distances), a system similar to Craigslist for buying and selling with a built-in Paypal option, and links to services within the YU community. The site also features a forum for discussions, debate, questions, YU experiences and advice on courses and career paths, as well as a live chat-room for communication during events and for conversations between members of the YU community.


Observer: What is YU Hotspot?

MP: YU Hotspot is a social network special for YU. It is used for the sharing of information about academics, meet-ups, marketing, rides, and buying and selling. It is a place where people can share their thoughts, talents and ideas with the YU community.


Where did you get the idea to create YU Hotspot, and what motivated you to actually make it?

MP: People from YU kept coming over to me to start something. They wanted a more efficient way to share ideas. I had the feeling something was missing. Without an effective means of communication, information gets lost. I wanted to offer the students of YU the tools and medium to express themselves. I wanted a forum for students to be able to discuss news, halakha, politics, academics, and felt obligated to create it as my contribution to benefit the YU community. The college years are among the most important years in determining one’s future, I wanted to synthesize the information necessary for making new decisions.


What’s your favorite feature on the website?

MP: I love gathering information from articles, but don’t always love reading them. I created a feature for the website to read blog posts to you. Sure it’s a computer, but it’s great for multi-tasking and those nights when you’re too tired to read for yourself.


Do you think this will encourage YU students not on Facebook to get involved with the YU community online?

MP: Not everyone has a Facebook. Teachers and professionals with Facebook may not want to express their opinions on Facebook. YU Hotspot is useful to those students not on Facebook as well as those who use Facebook.


Does YU Hotspot have features that Facebook does not?

MP: Facebook is a very general website. Its groups are great, but scattered. Facebook also lacks a community-wide chat option, as well as organized ways to advertise tutoring and other services.


How do you think this well affect the YU community?

MP: If people use it, it could be an easier way of helping fellow students out in myriad ways. It will hopefully revolutionize the cyber communication at YU and change the way students interact with each other.


What do you want students to get out of it?

MP: I want them to conduct research more efficiently, share their data and help make the school a better place. It is an easy forum for students to help other students by sharing their experiences and getting information from those who know.


Anything else we should know?

MP: Stay tuned for a forthcoming YU Hotspot mobile app, an aesthetics-driven redesigned site, and major updates focused on enhancing academic science research.