Claremore Daily Progress

June 20, 2013

RSU alumnus, faculty member brings online community idea to life

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Rogers State University alumnus Brandon Irby will soon launch 20u, an online community and “go-to source of actionable advice” for twenty-something year olds.
Irby said he best describes 20u as a “Weight Watchers for millennial holistic health.” Currently in the works, the online program is set up to encourage participants to build their own ideal lifestyle by forming powerful habits and building meaningful relationships with others.  
Members will receive a new activity each week that will take the most legitimate research from leading organizations, turning it into relatable advice to be used in action, he said. A “soft launch” of the 20u kickstarter campaign will take place in August. 
His introduction video describing the idea behind 20u, touches on relevant articles he found when searching to see if there were similar ideas to what he had in mind for the project.
“Every article that popped up was either opinion or editorial,” said Irby. “They were talking at us not with us. There was no form online to live a practical life (while) holding each other accountable.”
A few weeks ago, Irby had a realization driving back from Tulsa.
“I thought 10 years ago I was 15 and in another five years I’ll be 30. In our culture that’s a huge mile mark,” he said. “There’s this opportunity here, and I thought what can I do with these five years, so that I’m not wasting them.” 
Irby said he took an unconventional route through school. He graduated from Owasso High School and began his own photography business, which he pursued for six years.   
“I never thought that education would line up with my aspirations, but Iittle did I know I was wrong.”
Irby came across RSU as a means to an end. He though he would spend a semester on the hill and then transfer somewhere else. 
At RSU, Irby fell in love with the opportunities that the school presented and he decided he would keep pursuing his degree.
“By the time I got to school I had a very narrow focus of what my education meant to me and why I was getting it and a lot of people don’t have that,” he said. “I’ve had wonderful people in my life who have just spoken practical wisdom into my life.”
As a Career Services coordinator at RSU, Irby works with hundreds of students one on one. He said he works with students all of the time who either feel overwhelmed, uncertain, anxious and a lot of times fearful during that season of life, transitioning from college to career.
“Many of the students have this overwhelming sense of just either I’m wasting my life or I’m buying my time, and I thought that can’t be true,” said Irby.
He wanted to do something about it. He came up with the idea to create an online platform for people to gather and take action together, providing support to one another on how to make the most of the their twenties.
“I’ve researched people with PhDs who are talking articulately about this decade and the generation that is now within this decade of the twenties. What I’ve learned in my brief stint of 25 years in life is that most of life that happens is just principle-based and that if you employ these principles in life, they work,” said Irby. “They work for your grandpa and your great grandpa, but unfortunately they have kind of been lost because our cultural perspective of our twenties has glamorized it. All young adults have these aspirations to do something meaningful with their lives, but very few people are encouraging or holding them accountable.”
Irby said what inspires him most is when someone close to his age becomes “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” and gets inspired to do something meaningful.
“If I make this big bold move with this online community, then that really proves that I did something meaningful with the last five years of my twenties and at the same time it will inspire others to do the same, he said.
Irby is currently spreading the message about the website’s launch, providing background information on 20u. He said he has already received “buy-in” with people sending emails, signing up to reserve their spot in the online community.
The 20u website is set to launch sometime in early August. For more information or to sign up, visit twentyu.org.