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

Meco.

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    Shoutout

    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

    campus.

    “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

    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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