By: Lauren Young
Seniors Tapuwa Chikwinya and Taron Foxworth work on launching Squeakboard, an event notification app, by second semester this school year. The app specializes in events that occur on Xavier University’s campus that are held by student-led clubs and organizations as well as those held by faculty, staff, and administration.
Squeakboard was created due to lack of awareness when it came to events and activities held on campus. This absence of awareness wasn’t just seen in students, but also for faculty, staff, and administration. Having both been Residential Assistants, Chikwinya and Foxworth were directly involved in event notification as far as putting up fliers in dorms for the awareness of students. Despite their efforts, they still found that a decent amount of their residents would stop by and ask what was going on around campus. “Out of the idea we had and the problems we faced [as RA’s], Squeakboard came out of it,” said Foxworth.
The original idea for the app actually belonged to Foxworth who as a kid imagined a similar application that would be a notification center for news around the users’ location. Upon collaborating with Chikwinya and fellow classmate, Jeremiah Harlan, Squeakboard was produced. “One of the guys that actually worked with us, Jeremiah Harlan, he wanted to work on a related project last year for class and he brought it to me and it reminded me, and we essentially merged the two together and tweaked it a little bit,” Foxworth said. Chikwinya added that using Squeakboard “is a lot more effective in today’s tech-savvy age. Squeakboard is more than just an app, it’s solution.”
Going into it, Chikwinya and Foxworth made it a priority to create more exposure for events held by those clubs that aren’t as profound as perhaps the Student Activities Council, the Black Students Association, or Navigators. They also wanted to develop a way for commuters to know what was happening on campus so they could plan accordingly and still be involved with on-campus events and activities.
In addition to that, they want departments affiliated with the university, besides just academic ones, to utilize Squeakboard as well. “Departments will be able to use something like this to better reach the student base. So Career Services, the Williams College of Business, O’Connor Sports Center…this is another way for them to get the word out for different things that are going around. If there was a way for them [students] to know about the things that are going on around campus, we would see greater turnouts to just about every event,” said Chikwinya.
Chikwinya and Foxworth have also reached out to local businesses that are constantly doing promotional work here at Xavier, such as LaRosa’s and Yagoot. They can use Squeakboard to notify Xavier students when they will be on campus and what they will be offering.
“Our main goal was to change the way that people interacted with events,” said Foxworth. “Not even just on campus, because there’s such a strong disconnect between them. If you think about fliers and you think about our schedules…the fliers are on paper, our schedules are digital. That’s the problem right there.” Squeakboard allows clubs to work together in way that they weren’t able to before when they’re limited to using paper fliers.
Users of the Squeakboard app subscribe to tags of clubs that they’re in or interested in, as well as other topics they relate to. In doing so, they are notified whenever an event has tagged a tag they are subscribed to. This permits clubs to collaborate in such a way that they can reach out to more than one group of students who may be subscribed to one tag, but not others. When students see the other tags associated with a given event that they aren’t subscribed to, they can click on it and see what other events are going on in that different tag. This can perhaps provoke them to subscribe to a tag they may not have previously considered.
Currently, Squeakboard is being used by a handful of clubs as a test, but will aim to be available campus-wide by the beginning of the spring 2014 semester. “Squeakboard is about what’s happening, but in order for that to actually show, we need students using the app. It’s a great idea, but if people aren’t using it, then the idea goes away, and we don’t want this idea to go away,” Chikwinya said.
If you have any questions, want to be involved in the pre-stages of Squeakboard, or are a part of club that would like to use Squeakboard’s services before next semester, feel free to contact either Taron Foxworth (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tapuwa Chikwinya (email@example.com).