Stanford party apps hit the scene

A year after “Stanford Hates Fun” swept campus, bringing the suspension of the Tree and the election of the current ASSU executives on a fun oriented platform in its wake, the movement to foster a freer and more lively campus culture has inspired Stanford’s latest round of startups: party apps. 

Two apps — Wristband and Mixer — are each seeking to become students’ go-to platform to discover events happening across campus and RSVP. Both apps began marketing their services to students this quarter. 

To date, both apps have very similar functionality. Wristband and Mixer both advertise upcoming parties and meetings on their app, while also allowing their users to keep track of events they have registered for. Both apps also allow organizations and individuals to register their events on the site, as well as limit who receives access to their event. When opening the app, the largest perceived difference between the two apps may be their differing color schemes. 

“Last year, we really had a struggle finding events on campus,” said Ameya Jadhav ’26, the co-founder of Mixer. Tristan Ketterer ’22, the co-founder of Wristband, echoed the feeling, “There just didn’t exist an easy place for people to learn that information and figure out what to do,” Ketterer said.

The main difference between the apps lies in their introductions to campus.

Recently, Wristband advertised events such as Kappa Sigma’s Eurotrash, Sigma Phi Epsilon’s White Lies and ASHA’s annual garba. Mixer publicized a variety of smaller events, performances and socials, like a screening of “Friday the 13th” on Oct. 13 and Stanford Concert Network’s “Welcome Back Show” the day after.

Despite this apparent slight difference in the startups’ audiences, many events are cross-listed between the two platforms. As of the time of publication, 10 out of the 14 events publicly advertised on Wristband were identical to 10 of the 27 events currently advertised on Mixer. 

While Ketterer says he plans to eventually branch out beyond Greek life events, Wristband marketed its product to fraternities from the get-go, offering app modifications and monetary compensation for fraternities to use the apps, Ketterer said. Ketterer declined to comment on how much money each fraternity received. 

“We realized that a large part of Stanford’s social life was centered around Greek life,” Ketterer said. “We approached fraternities pretty early on about working together and creating features for them in order for them to put their events on there.”

Meanwhile, Mixer is currently in the process of marketing aggressively towards non-Greek affiliated students and student organizations. “I think the hardest part is actually getting adoption,” Jadhav said. He believes that Mixer’s broad focus on all types of events including group meetings, performances and cultural events will be able to entice a wide-range of students to use the platform. 

“Mixer reached out to us,” said ASSU co-chair of social life and inclusivity Emily Deng ’25. “I haven’t heard of Wristband.”

The Mixer team has plans to soon begin providing perks to groups who advertise exclusively on the platform. “They will give out gift cards to random people at our event or merch if that person is on Mixer,” said Anusha Dwarkanath ’26, president of Stanford Noopur. Jadhav confirmed this, saying that the planned promotion will be “just a short term advertisement plan … to get [more] students on Mixer.”

According to Dwarkanath, using Mixer is easy and simple compared to email lists of other forms of advertisement. But she said that when advertising for her group, “it’s all about where the people are.”

Wristband also entered some early controversy around its handling of Eurotrash, the first frat party of the year and an annual tradition at Stanford. Prior to the event, Ketterer designed flyers urging people to “get your wristband” for Eurotrash. Many frosh felt that this poster misled them, making them believe a wristband was required to enter the party, despite the fact that Eurotrash was an all-campus event. 

Stanford party apps hit the scene
(Photo: ANANYA UDAYGIRI/The Stanford Daily)

In response, Ketterer posted an apology on Fizz using a screenshot from his Notes app. In this post, he apologized for the situation and assured users the slip-up was not intentional, displaying remorse that his actions caused “major confusion.”

“I stand by what I said,” Ketterer said. “It was not my intention in any capacity to mislead people, but I recognize that’s what happened, and I’m really sorry about that.”

Mixer, though currently free from controversy, may be losing the war of user adoption. As of now, Wristband has around 1500 users on the app, Ketterer said. According to Jadhav, Mixer has 310 active users. 

“With any platform that is about congregating event information and getting event hosters to want to post that event information on there, you need people,” Ketterer said. “But people only want to be on a platform like this if there are event posters.”

However, both apps fall short of the widespread reach of “The Cards,” the ASSU’s weekly email blasts announcing campus events and opportunities on the undergraduate-wide mailing list, ostensibly reaching the over 7700 undergraduate students. Unlike both apps, “The Cards” advertise solely all-campus events, such as parties, sporting events and neighborhood socials. Additionally, organizations don’t always have to register their events themselves. In some cases, Deng and her co-chair, Annie Reller ’24 just ask organizers to approve the listing.

“Everyone checks their email, because we kind of have to check our email,” Deng said. “It’s nice that as part of ASSU we have access to the full undergrad mailing list.” 

Jadhav and Ketterer both appeared unperturbed by the competing products. “All competition is healthy. We love that there are other people trying to solve this problem,” Jadhav said. 

Most students interviewed, however, agreed that one centralized app for events would be ideal.

“The fact that there are multiple apps that serve the same purpose … is frustrating,” said Will Kousser ’27.

It is still too early to tell which platform – if any – will come out on top. However, both founders seem confident about the need for their products on campus. 

“I do envision one day there just being this one app that all the groups on campus are using that’s pretty seamless, integrates across all different groups, all different types of events,” Jadhav said.