Welcome to the inaugural Discord Community Spotlight, a showcase of some of the best, most unique communities on Discord. We’ll be regularly highlighting servers that are doing something distinctly different, special, or just plain cool.

For our first feature, we’d like to share with the world the UT Dallas Discord, a community-led by Eric Aaberg that acts as a student hub for The University of Texas at Dallas.

Creating a Second Home for UT Dallas

The server originally started out solely focused on being a server for Eric’s graduating class of 2022. He was but a wee incoming freshman, wanting to establish an easy way for him to connect and bond with his fellow Comets in his graduating year (Comets are what they call themselves at UT Dallas!).

Soon after starting the server, the UT Dallas Discord ran its first-ever community meetup in Fall 2018. Around 20 people showed up, and some of them soon became Eric’s closest friends. A few even became part of the ever-growing student moderator team in the UT Dallas Discord.

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Just a few of the many student moderators and community team members from a UT Dallas Discord meetup.

Over time, the server gained considerably more traction than he first expected. Once realizing this, Eric pivoted the server to become the “UT Dallas Discord,” encompassing the entire university rather than just his specific graduating class. Since then, it’s become the home for students being able to talk and connect with each other ever since.

“What is really unique about our server is that it doesn’t only provide a space for students to connect with other students, but also to connect with the 350+ student organizations, clubs, programs, and university departments on it as well!” Eric explains, “We have tons of student leaders on our Discord who have a special role/badge which exclusively allows them to even send out announcements.”

The UT Dallas Discord even has a custom Discord bot called Temoc, named after their university mascot, which greets new users and is always ready to celebrate by typing in !whoosh, !dance, or !highfive.

Making Every Student Feel Welcome

We don’t need to explain by now, but 2020 has been drastically different for all of us. To help ease the students of UT Dallas into the new mix of online and offline learning, channels within the Discord are categorized into 4 distinct categories:

  • Resource Channels, such as the good ol’ rules, adding roles, and even a directory of sub-server communities within UT Dallas.
  • Announcement channels, which include both server-based and university-based announcements.
  • Discussion channels, where the main bulk of the conversation happens. Subjects include general chat, academics, art, memes, a student bulletin board, and even a lost and found for when you find yet another earbud abandoned in the campus hallways.
  • Subscription channels, opt-in news feeds for graduating classes, and alumni to be directly notified on the latest campus happenings.

Keeping everything laid out nice and neat keeps new and returning students in the know about what’s goin’ on around UT Dallas — something even more important when you aren’t heading to campus as much as you used to, if at all.

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The #student-events Announcement channel helps keeps the UT Dallas community in the loop, for important things like when there’s free ice cream somewhere on campus.

“With the transition of a majority of activities & academics going virtual, our Discord server plays an even bigger part of connecting the Comet Community together. We’re focusing a lot on helping out with weekly campus events and increasing our moderation team to help transition new users onto the Discord.

We’re even hosting an educational event targeting student groups on campus, explaining why they should engage in the UT Dallas Discord, sharing how they can host events in our community, and even why they could consider making their own sub-Discord server for their niche community.”

Should you build a university server? Eric says absolutely.

It might seem daunting to establish a server as big as UT Dallas Discord, but Eric has some sage advice for those pondering the idea of starting a campus community Discord: “Do it, do it, do it!

“Discord has grown to become a very popular and known platform for college students and is a perfect way to build a community. From the ability to use Discord on mobile and desktop devices, to the super quick loading speeds, I use Discord for all of my primary communication.”

And most important of all: you get to spread the news of your on-campus ice cream meetups with all your fellow students. 🍦 (Vanilla, please.)

If you happen to be a prospective student, needing tips for college or are scoping out the University of Texas at Dallas as a place you’d like to attend your future classes, feel free to join the community at discord.gg/utdallas.

!highfive.

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The Community Spotlight is an ongoing series showcasing the coolest, most unique communities on Discord. If you run a great community or know someone who does, we’d love to speak with them.

Reach out to the blog team using our submission form and we’ll be in touch.

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