Students innovate apps to connect students around campus

By Sarah Kats, Staff Writer

Connecting with others via social media has become a common cultural tradition among

college students. With applications ranging from Tinder to Yik Yak, a variety of options

is available to students who want to keep in contact with one another. Recently,

University students in Engineering have added two new apps to the mix: Shoutout and


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Shoutout was originally created by Mayank Jain, senior in Engineering, and Mehul

Goyal, graduate student in Engineering, at the 2015 HackIllinois competition. The

phone application was originally engineered as a way to monitor the line at Chipotle

without having to waste time on travel.

Following HackIllinois, Jain and Goyal expanded the application to different locations on


“Initially, we wanted to build something that solved this issue, but after building the

prototype and winning a few awards at HackIllinois, we thought it would be interesting to

continue working on it,” Jain said. “We continued with this process of adding features

based on feedback we got from friends and what we thought people need.”

The app allows users to see how many people are at a particular location, to find out the

male­to­female ratio and to observe where specific people are.

“It’s a more seamless way to know where and what everyone is doing,” Jain said.


Meco founders Sunny Pruthi, senior in Engineering, and Neel Kothari, senior in

Engineering, teamed up to create an app that allows users to subscribe to local events

and then “match” with others who also plan on attending.

“One of the problems we saw with the current meet­up and dating apps was when

taking the interaction offline after you match with them,” Kothari said. “When you match

with someone, the app tells you what event you’re both interested in going to, so you

now have a public and safe place to meet.”

The ability to connect with people based on shared interests in specific events is

something the Meco founders believe can foster a different form of connection.

“These kinds of niche events that you have a passion for where you can meet people

with the same interests and jump start conversations will give you that kind of

connectedness we hope to create,” Pruthi said. “We want to create something people

need rather than want.”

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