Students, faculty develop app to elevate relationships


A new social media app and website may be emerging from within K-State. A group called Relevate is working on a development that will help students improve their relationships.

More specifically, their romantic ones.

According to Relevate Executive Director Amber Vennum, assistant professor in family studies and human services and and licensed therapist, the name of the group stands for “elevating your relationship.” The group consists of graduate and undergraduate students and faculty.

Vennum, who is spearheading the project, said the app will be tailored to individuals.

“The great thing about using mobile technology is we don’t have to have a one-size-fits-all curriculum anymore, so you can go on the website or app and type in what is happening to you in your relationship,” Vennum said. “You can track it over time.”

The focus of Relevate is young adults ages 18-30, but the website and app will also specifically focus on helping people who cannot afford professional services, said Collin Clifford, Relevate marketing coordinator and graduate student in business administration.

According to Clifford, several young adults are at a point where they are making important life decisions regarding their relationships.

“We’re really trying to focus on them first and foremost, to help people that cannot be helped because of financial limitations, and then expand from there,” Clifford said. “We would love to help anybody and everyone, but we’d like to start with them right now.”

According to Kaydee Tran, senior in psychology and member of the project’s marketing and prototype development teams, Relevate has professional contacts at different universities, including the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri. She said she hopes the project continues to grow and encompass as many people and resources as possible.

“I would love for it to be an app that really starts a trend, a movement, of people actually admitting that they’re not perfect in their relationships,” Tran said. “It’s okay to admit that you need help, because we all do.”

Previously, the group hosted an event in the K-State Student Union in which they gave different prompts, such as “#trueloveis …” and then asked people to finish the prompts on whiteboards. Vennum said members of Relevate are now working to link and backup these answers with scientific information.

K-State students have mixed opinions about the project.

“As a guy, I probably wouldn’t use it,” Nathan Pageler, junior in mechanical engineering, said. “Having been dating for five years, I am pretty confident in my relationship. I don’t suppose I have any questions that anybody else could answer.”

Brianda Gonzalez, senior in apparel and textiles, said she was intrigued by the idea of the app; however, she was uncertain of its reliability.

“I am not currently in a relationship, but when I was I could have used some professional advice if for no other reason than to tell me I was on the right track with my thinking,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m not sure how much something on a computer can really know about me personally. Maybe it would help, maybe it wouldn’t.”

Ultimately, Vennum said the future of Relevate will be largely guided by what the end user wants and needs, but overall she wants to help young adults form positive relationships.

“I myself didn’t have very good models of healthy relationships, and I got into a lot of (unhealthy) ones,” Vennum said. “I was lucky enough to be exposed to some information that really helped me change my life, so I want to bring that option to other people.”

Hello! I'm Morgan Bell, a senior at K-State majoring in journalism. I'm currently a copy editor and writer for The Collegian.