Wikipedia brings a new resource to students, a popular online encyclopedia that thrives on contributions from the average person, recently established a subsection called Students Wikia.

The purpose of this “Wiki” (a site network under the Wikipedia umbrella) is for “all university and school student communities to share information that they think is necessary,” according to the Web site.

This information, which could range from news about events on and off campus to a breakdown of the history of the town a campus is located in, is given by students of these respective universities.

“I’ve made it my mission to present people with a completely open forum to build communities based on their interests and passions,” stated Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in a press release. “I am inviting all those individuals who share the same enthusiasm that I do for growing communities to help lead the charge in developing Wikis for their universities.”

Tristan Harris, founder of a Wikia for Stanford University, stated that while traditional resources for prospective and current students like a university’s official Web site can be good for “information gathering at the surface level… For students looking for current, under-the-radar tips and tricks that only other students would know, Wikis are the way to go,” according to the Students Wikia Web site.

Wikipedia, launched in the late fall of 2004, has since amassed over 2,000 different “Wikia” available in over 45 languages. Students Wikia has been around since early 2005 and many universities across the country have taken advantage of this unique online resource and have “Wikis” of their own. NYU, Duke, University of Virginia and UCLA are just a few of over 40 national institutes who have “mini Wikis” courtesy of members of their respective student body.

There has been some concern over the accuracy of facts posted, both on Students Wikia and other Wikipedia sites.
“It can be helpful if the student (reviewer) is honest,” said freshman Tori Stein, “but at the same time, they could be biased or [provide false information].”

Because of these issues, only users registered with Students Wikias can post facts.

Although St. John’s does not yet have its own “mini-Wiki,” students have responded positively to the idea.

“It appears this site has found a productive way to bring students together,” said freshman Bryan Upshur. “Compared to Myspace and Facebook, it’s a lot more informative and helpful to the college community.”

“This website provides a variety of information for both potential and current students from different universities nationwide,” agreed freshman Jasmin Noel. “Student Wikipedia is a great way to take a closer look and explore different aspects of the college experience.”