Bakersfield College student organizations have incorporated the app Discord for virtual connections

Teresa Balmori, Reporter

The Bakersfield College Government Association (BCSGA) has come up with the idea of adapting to the free chatting service called Discord.

The Bakersfield College Discord was first established in the fall of 2019 for testing services, but soon became public and popular among students at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The Discord currently has over 800 members and around 5 clubs at the moment. The clubs consist of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Computer Science, Ethics Bowl, Japanese Culture, and Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA), according to Benjamin Balderrama, Student Life Programmer Manager at BC. Discord also has a few professors on the app.

“Discord is more like a chat server where people talk or text in real-time and acts like a virtual common space everyone can go to,” according to Balderrama. “Just like you would go to the huddle, a class, or bench, you can just go visit and start talking.”

Their rules for the messaging service are simple at the moment due to students not causing any harmful activities, Balderram explained. However, they do require students to follow the basic rules that Discord has set in place. “I try not to play big brother and let the server go about its business and help students when directly contacted,” Balderram stated. BC also tries to remove any content that violates the rules and withdraws or bans any users that are not following them.

Balderrama was encouraged to use the chatting service after moderating different YouTubers and streamers. “Discord is helpful for online games so people can play like they are right by each other,” Balderrama explained. “You can have so many different channel topics so everyone can feel invited.” He has been familiar with the messaging app for 4 years now.

According to Balderram, Discord does have some similarities with the Surviving BC Facebook page. “I do have a feeling the Discord will be the younger traditional-age college students and gamers while Facebook can have older students or students not so much into games,” Balderrama stated. They both allow students to socialize and get to know each other.
As for the future, Balderrama still hopes to be moderating the app and will continue it, even after the pandemic ends, he explained. He believes that it would still be a fun and interactive way to communicate with other students.

For more information about Discord, one can go to the BC website and search for events or discussions happening on Discord. One can also contact Program Manager Balderram through email for more information.