Life at Here
Bucknell University is a 4-year college in the middle of nowhere. Many events, such as parties, games, dinners, talks, and concerts, are organized by different student organizations at different times and locations to maintain a healthy social scene. There are usually posters advertising some events and students usually have to take pictures or enter events into their Google Calendar in order to keep track (personal experience). It’s important to have a central location for all of these events. For events available to outsiders, more specific location information should be provided as well as useful information that can help them navigate the campus (e.g parking locations). Lastly, another difficulty that many Bucknell students face is keeping track of appointments and meetings with fellow students and Bucknell faculty. As such, it would be really useful to have an application that allows students to schedule and track meetings with others on campus.
A good solution to this problem is a mobile phone application that contains regularly updated events on campus, along with event details such as time and location. Personal user accounts (or more favorably, integration with Bucknell students’ and faculty’s personal Google Calendar accounts) could offer the advantage of tracking personal appointments, an addition that would fit nicely with the theme of LifeAtHere and keeping campus commitments in one centralized location. This app can also be used to push urgent information to the student body. Events would be pushed to the app and students can select the events they’re interested in and would receive reminders about the events. For visitors, Google Maps can be integrated with the app to provide directions and help them navigate the campus. Visitors, instead of having access to Bucknell community’s personal appointments, would have ready access to the school directory.
It is possible to build this app, but it is important to determine the system by which the school events get added, the different level of access, etc. Another important decision would be to select a platform: Android/iOS. Further, this project would require close interaction with the CAP Center to learn about the ways events are organized and advertised. University-backed APIs (in addition to the CAP Center) could be used as resources to automatically provide the latest event details, rather than relying on a strictly student-run or crowdsourced method of adding new events (which hasn’t worked well with similar apps in the past). We would also have to work with Public Safety to learn about provisions created for visitors on campus. Additionally, to create appointments with other Bucknellians, the system would likely have to integrate with both the currently implemented “Room Request” on myBucknell and Google Calendar. Lastly, this app would probably require online access, so it’s important that the “bucknell_guests” WiFi access is always available and working effectively. To create this app, knowledge about mobile computing is necessary.
Risks and Rewards
If this is accepted and adopted by the campus community, this app would be a game changer in the way social life is organized on campus. As final year students, this is an opportunity to leave a legacy in a useful way. This project would not require too much financial commitment but would require time, especially when integrating already existing programs with our project. Also, the school may not be in support of some events posted on the app and/or students may be unwilling to post their events if the app is policed by the school. It’s important to find a compromise. Another issue that we will have to work around is that some app features, such as “appointment making” should only be available to members of Bucknell University and not visitors. Hence, we will have to request that users login to their Bucknell accounts, as they will otherwise not have access to specific features. Finally, one last risk associated with building this sort of app is that a similar app is already in existence. The “Bucknell” app, available on Android and iOS, is able to provide directions to visitors, along with a few features for currently enrolled students. Since this app already exists, the risk is that users may not want to download yet another “Bucknell” app onto their phone. Perhaps we can consider the solution of implementing and updating currently existing features in the “Bucknell” app.
The company should consider investing in this app because most of the tools required for building the app are open source. It’s also a fairly uncomplicated solution with a possible large impact. A centralized hub for viewing and scheduling upcoming campus events (and appointments) would fill a noticeable void in Bucknell’s otherwise technically savvy community. The pre-existing official Bucknell app leaves much to be desired as far as campus events and making appointments are concerned. LifeAtHere can be used by new and prospective students to learn about Bucknell’s social scene even before learning about the environment. If made into an app, LifeAtHere would be a viable means of keeping students in the loop and showing visitors/prospective students that Bucknell has an active and vibrant community.