College Goal #1: Make Friends!
Elfster provides a unique gift-giving opportunity for students, alumni, and college groups to create connections, form friendships, establish traditions, and most importantly, feel a sense of belonging within their campus community. Learn how three Elfster groups used the gift-giving platform to create new bonds and lasting connections both on and off campus.
Gift Exchanges That Started on Campus
Columbia University: Freshman Orientation
Arman Azad, an incoming freshman at Columbia, created an Elfster gift exchange as a way for his fellow first-year students to connect on a more personal level to ease the transition to college life. Gathering at the university’s New Student Orientation Program, over 250 students from every state and over 90 countries participated.
“The idea of the exchange is meant to establish relationships among our class, as well as foster a greater understanding of our diverse backgrounds and histories. With so many participants, Elfster is the only place I knew of that could provide a platform to do that.”
“Some people come to college with established groups of friends, but, for others, the first conversation on campus may happen during orientations… With our gift exchange, we hope to facilitate such conversations, because it ensures that everyone had someone to talk to during the first week of school. As a result—the person with whom you’re paired might just end up being your best friend or maybe even your significant other!”
— Arman Azad, gift exchange organizer
Boston University: Alumni Gift Giving
12 Communication Majors at BU, who met in their dorm, created a holiday gift exchange to help ease their end-of-semester stresses freshman year. The tradition continued a decade after graduation, and eventually went global.
“After freshman year, our living situations started shifting and we moved all over campus. Using Elfster let me control exchange aspects like not having roommates draw each other. And it remembers year over year draws and prevents people from getting the same person each time.”
“We’ve had great experiences with Elfster. Using it to set up our gift exchanges helped bridge our busy schedules in college and now our distances across the country and globe.”
— Erika Lam, gift exchange organizer
Alpha Kappa Alpha: Celebrating Bonds of Sisterhood
Founded at Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha is the first black Greek letter organization established by women. In honor of the Alpha Kappa Alpha’s deep and important history, one alumni chapter started a gift exchange tradition with Elfster to celebrate their precious bonds of sisterhood. The group’s “Secret Soror” gift exchange brings laughs and love to the lives of these busy ladies.
“We have specific rules, set a gift minimum at $25, and exchange gifts four times a year (Founders’ Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas). You find out the identity of your Secret Soror at the Christmas party in December. Some participate in the Wishlist, but many just want to be surprised.”
— Judith Fitzgerald, gift exchange organizer
Elfster 101: How to Create Your Own Gift Exchange
Gifting is always in session! And it’s the perfect time to kick off the semester with an Elfster gift exchange with friends! Like these gift exchanges that started on campus, connect with your sorority besties, members of your fave clubs, buds from your intramural team or your fellow alums!
1. Go to elfster.com or download the app to sign up for an account
2. Go to Dashboard → Gift Exchanges → Start A Gift Exchange
3. Invite new and old besties via email or text
4. Party on!
Be The ‘Most Likely To Succeed’ at Gift Giving
If you’re looking for gift giving inspo that earns an A+, our curated Gift Guides. They’re sure to bring Joy to the Dorm. Extra Credit: Add these gifts to your own Elfster wishlist. It’s an easy and polite way to let everyone know what you really want!