Bruinwalk is operated by the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s daily student-run newspaper since 1919 and a publication of UCLA Student Media.
It takes its name from Bruin Walk, the main campus thoroughfare UCLA students use to walk to class each day.
Bruinwalk is run for students, by students, and features anonymous professor reviews and reviews of apartments near UCLA. Its goal is to supplement the Daily Bruin’s mission of creating a comprehensive record of life at UCLA by allowing students to share reviews and advice about academics and housing.
Bruinwalk.com was founded in 1998 by Patrick Kerkstra, former Daily Bruin editor in chief and Communications Board chair. Originally designed to serve as a Yahoo!-style portal for the campus, early versions featured news from the Daily Bruin and wire services. The idea to take the name of the thoroughfare connecting the residence halls to the heart of campus was suggested by Scott Kim, a student advertising manager at the Daily Bruin, who understood that Bruinwalk.com was trying to become the online equivalent.
In 1999, Bruinwalk began to focus on serving Web mail to UCLA students. Student developers Landis Olsen and Spencer Lee built a Web mail system that included address books and spell check, features not offered by the university’s email system until later. Other features included online file storage and forums.
In 2001, Avishai Shraga led the next generation of student developers as they created Bruinwalk’s professor review feature, which was designed by Brian Donovan. As Bruinwalk discontinued email, it became more focused on facilitating community-generated content and services.
The next version of Bruinwalk saw the addition of social networking. The student staff at Bruinwalk, led by Justin Hartung, created a social networking platform that launched at about the same time Facebook did in 2004. At its peak, about 4,000 UCLA students used the Bruinwalk social network before Facebook supplanted it.
Bruinwalk was redeveloped in 2007 by David Martin and Weston Nielson, who rewrote Bruinwalk in Django, an open-source language.
A redesigned Bruinwalk was launched on March 24, 2011. In that time, the site expanded to include a comprehensive encyclopedia of profiles centered around the people and entities that inhabit the UCLA community.
In October 2015, a team of Daily Bruin developers led by Akshay Bakshi and Simon Zou started working on rebuilding Bruinwalk, making the site mobile-friendly and shifting its focus back to professor and apartment reviews. The redesigned site launched Feb. 3, 2016. The team included UI/UX designers Carly Hines and Eric Nord, front-end developers McKenna Galvin, Ian Cordero, Hongyi Zhang and Kiana Kavoosi, and back-end developers Gautam Gupta and Arvin Nguyen.
Bruinwalk, as a Daily Bruin website, is published by the UCLA Communications Board. The Communications Board also publishes Bruin Life, UCLA’s official yearbook, as well as seven magazines (Al-Talib, Fem, Ha'Am, La Gente, Nommo, OutWrite and Pacific Ties) and UCLA Radio, the campus radio station.