By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
A new app titled Connect University was launched this year by a team of alumni, the purpose being to gather events and attractions that would benefit the community on campus.
Designed by a core team of five members, ranging from Computer Science to Marketing and Graphics Design majors, the development of the app took roughly one and a half years for the realization of what the team wanted to create.
Amongst them were three members who had the original idea.
Zack Martin, a Marketing major and alumni from the Class of 2016, and Tyler Oliver, a Computer Science major and member of the Class of 2017, as well as Nick Van Bek, Computer Science major and an alumni from the Class of 2016 who had previous experience with app design.
From that point on, with a clear goal, the team spent the next year to work on the app until it was in a stage ready for launch and available for download.
Martin, Oliver, and Van Bek had all decided to launch it on dual platforms, iOS and Android, in order to make it accessible for both users.
The app’s function covers many different roles: from coordinating events on campus, to including discounts and promoting events within the local community, such as local businesses like Osprey Adventures and Tropical Smoothie Café. In addition, various sport events and games that take place throughout the season are inlcuded in the app.
For every event, the time, date, and location of the event is displayed, as well as additional information like a description of the event and the people who are going to be attending.
Martin, Van Bek, and Oliver also noted how additional features would be added in the future to expand the utility of the app.
Martin said they wanted to make it as “available as possible, expanding it…” so multiple users from different platforms could have access.
The idea behind the app was to create a more communitydriven, student-intensive experience that would prioritize and aggregate the events from around campus, and compile them into a central source to make it easier for students to learn about them.
Updates and continued supports such as patches are being continually provided every other week in order to maintain the app. The developers had prized student interactivity as well, noting how reviews and comments left in response to the app’s effectiveness were appreciated.
When asked why they specifically decided to focus on UMass Dartmouth as the campus for their app, they responded that “we have connects and friends and information [about the campus] here and we would love to see this app succeed [at UMass Dartmouth].”
For another similar app currently sponsored by the SAIL Office called Involvio, the team noted how there was an agreement between their Connect University team and the university.
The deal was that if they could acquire the same amount of users as Involvio did (the current campus event app), the SAIL Office would agree to open a contract with them and officially license Connect University for the university’s use and budget enrollment.
Martin also talked about the various differences between Involvio and Connect University, saying that it was “made for students by students.”
Connect University, he went on, focused on increased user control and interactivity as well as the ability of users to create groups, moderate, and add events within them.
He also added on with the enthusiastic consent of his fellow group members, of how this would benefit the development of Connect University and the campus moreover, as developing a home-grown initiative for the community is a good thing.
First-year student Christopher Shaw, a Computer Science major at UMass Dartmouth, explained that he “would be interested in it as a direct initiative run by students.”
Joarky Acevedo, a junior here at UMass Dartmouth interested in the MIS field, noted how the campus “needed a bit more advertising to expand their appeal to more audiences other than those in the club”.
To this end, considering Connect University and the student activity within it, students responded receptively and welcomed it as a good idea for the campus.
For more information or details about Connect University, contact Zack Martin.