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Graduating seniors create online yearbook

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A group of graduating seniors have created Yearbook, a digital whiteboard where seniors can leave messages and memories, in hopes of providing closure for the class of 2020.  

Graduating seniors sign in with their SUNet IDs and are given their own individualized pages. Students can then write messages on their classmates’ pages, which will be open for comments from June 14 through June 21. Afterward, they’ll have a digital keepsake of all the messages on their boards. 

Yearbook was created by Pierce Ashworth ’20, Patrick Gilligan ’20, Harry Schwartz ’20 and Gabe Wieder ’20, who came up with the project idea in their product design capstone course. 

The creators discovered through interviews with their classmates that, while taking classes online, students tend to communicate regularly only with their close friends. However, they also noticed that students missed being able to meet “someone at a party, a friend-once-removed, or an acquaintance from your freshman CS 106A class you’ve always wanted to reconnect with.” 

“We also realize that picking up the phone and calling those people one-on-one is uncomfortable, especially if you aren’t at that place with them yet,” Wieder said. “We wanted to find a way that is low stakes enough that people feel comfortable reaching out to anyone who has impacted their Stanford experience.” 

Chloe Wintersteen ’20, one of the platform’s testers, said that Yearbook had helped lessen some of the feelings of loss that have beset seniors abruptly sent off campus. 

“This goes without saying, but it was really difficult to say goodbye to friends at the end of winter quarter,” she said. “The software is a gift, especially for the senior class.”

Although Yearbook was created to offset the unique challenges facing the class of 2020, the team is hoping to maintain it as a platform for future graduating classes. 

“Even if there wasn’t coronavirus, our senior class is so large that it would be hard to say goodbye to everyone,” Wieder said. “Yearbook gives students a chance they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

This article has been corrected to reflect that students’ pages are open for comment until June 21, not June 24. The Daily regrets this error.

Contact Fan Liu at fliu6 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Fan is a sophomore interested in the life sciences. She spends most of her time running experiments in biology lab or pondering the intricacies of human life. She is also passionate about traveling, visiting art museums and writing nonfiction pieces.