One click leads to community of Cougs

WSU students turn to Discord for help with classes, finding friends



During Week of Welcome, members of Discougs finally got to meet each other in person almost a year after the server came to be. A potluck-style picnic was held on campus, where members were able to socialize and play games with each other.

HANNAH BOUCHER, Evergreen reporter

The beginning of the pandemic put an indefinite pause on students’ lives. As dorms closed, friends moved back home and classes went online. The concept of socializing was all but a myth. 

Then, the social media platform Discord changed all that, providing students with a new way to interact with their fellow Cougs. 

Discord has been around since May 2015; however, in 2020, the social media platform had over a 100 percent increase in monthly active users, primarily because of the pandemic.

Many WSU students fled to Discord when the university was in remote operations to connect with their peers online. Even though classes have now returned, Discord continues to be a platform that connects Cougs from all over.

At the beginning of September, the platform introduced a new feature called “Student Hubs.” This allows colleges to register on Discord, creating a hub where all university-associated servers are found. 

Currently, WSU has 82 servers registered on its student hub, with the bulk of them being dedicated to specific courses or academic programs. These student hubs have even allowed students at the satellite campuses to connect with other Cougs.

Vanessa Casillas, WSU Vancouver senior accounting major, has been an active user on Discord since 2018. She first joined to keep tabs on her boyfriend’s online racing simulator competitions. 

Since the introduction of student hubs, Casillas has joined a couple of the WSU-affiliated servers, including Discougs and WSU.LGBTQ+. She said the LGBTQ+ server is the one she feels most connected to.

“As soon as I joined, there was this instant feeling of comradery and kinship,” Casillas said. “We were free to poke fun at ourselves [and] make jokes.” 

Discougs has the largest membership out of all the WSU student servers, with 2,056 members and counting. The server was founded last fall by sophomore mechanical engineering major Kacey Gavin.

Now that WSU has returned to in-person operations, those online friendships have turned into in-person meet-ups, including a campus potluck and an ice cream social at Ferdinand’s. 

As the server continues to grow, so has its complexity. There are currently 47 text channels that focus on topics like pets, memes, Minecraft or even career advice. Discougs also features voice channels, where students can have live chats while studying or gaming. 

Another popular channel is the WSU Gaming Community, with just over 1400 members. Gabriel del Rosario, WSU Esports and Gaming Community president, said he witnessed firsthand how Discord has helped the organization grow. 

“We’re not just esports,” Rosario said. “You don’t need to be into the competitive scene to enjoy our server. The overall aura, ‘vibe’ if you will, has been one of just enjoying and talking about video games, or just generally socializing.”

While many students use Discord socially, there are also academic benefits to joining WSU servers. 

Senior Connor Easton currently runs the second-largest server at WSU, the computer science server. The WSU CS Study Group currently has around 1,500 members, with more joining every day. 

“The goal is always to help people learn,” Easton said. “I really enjoy teaching people computer science, so giving that enjoyment to other people gives me a lot of fulfillment. That’s why people stick around: I feel like they get a lot out of it.”

There are some teacher’s assistants active on the server, which Easton said is a great way to provide students with quicker feedback than email.

 Amy Nguyen, sophomore electrical engineering major, mainly uses her account to collaborate with fellow students on the concepts learned in lectures during her classes. 

“It’s a place you can ask any questions if there’s any type of confusion,” Nguyen said. “You’re going to be with these students for a while, and you might as well get to know your peers now.”

What started out as a way to get input from other classmates on assignments has blossomed into an online community, connecting WSU students from all over.