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Student creates first ONU Snapchat Geofilter

Alex Sibila, the creator of ONU's first Snapchat Geofilter. (Northern Review photo/ Grant Pepper)

Alex Sibila, the creator of ONU's first Snapchat Geofilter. (Northern Review photo/ Grant Pepper)

On Tuesday night at approximately 6 p.m., Alex Sibila got an email.

His face lit up with excitement.

While sitting in the McIntosh Dining Hall, he described to a group of friends how Snapchat had approved his Geofilter design submission, and how the filter would be live within a matter of minutes.

“I was pretty excited because it was something that [the whole] campus would see, and it was something that I left my mark on,” Sibila, a sophomore Electrical Engineering major, said.

Sibila had submitted three designs before this one, all of them rejected for fixable flaws. This one, however, would work.

The design (below) consists of a cartoon polar bear head, resembling the shape of an “O,” with a white “N” and “U” following it.

“I wanted it to be something simple that doesn’t take away from the actual photo [and] still shows that it’s from ONU,” Sibila said.

Sibila submitted his final design to Snapchat last Friday. Anyone can submit a Geofilter design, but it must abide by Snapchat’s guidelines to be approved. The creator must also give an explanation for the design and pinpoint a location where the filter could be used.

If Snapchat approves the Geofilter design, then Snapchat users can use it in their pictures like a postcard stamp; the filter is a part of the picture and it shows that the user is in a certain place. Just swipe right after taking a picture, and you can see if your location has a Geofilter.

The range of Sibila’s Geofilter extends to the borders of Ohio Northern’s campus, from Main Street to Klingler Road.

While Sibila’s filter features an ONU-themed design, it’s important to note that the design is not affiliated with the university itself. His first filter (below) had “Ohio Northern University” in the design, and Snapchat rejected the submission because they could not use it unless it was approved by the university (which it was not).

On today’s college campuses, Snapchat accounts are nearly synonymous with backpacks or meal cards- everybody has one. Sibila believes that his final design has been a hit with his peers.

“[The feedback] has been positive so far,” Sibila said. “I have a lot of friends who use Snapchat, so it was good hearing from them and knowing that they enjoy the design and that they’ve been using it.”

But recognition isn’t what Sibila is chasing; rather, he simply wants to put ONU on the map.

“I wanted to do it because I thought that it would be something that [would] bring the campus together, and something that we didn’t have before,” Sibila said. “It’s nice being able to see that you’ve created something that people are using every day and something that puts a tag on pictures that are taken at ONU.”

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