UC Berkeley is home to thousands of students, faculty and staff but unfortunately, isn’t located in the safest neighborhood. Berkeley’s crime index is nearly double that of the national average with many crimes happening at night. In a recent survey, only 18% of respondents said they feel safe walking home alone. More than 60% of students said that BearWALK, the University’s current campus night escort system, is useful but needs improvement. PairWalk, is a mobile application designed to make Berkeley safer by allowing students to connect and find a buddy to walk with at night. With PairWalk, students simply enter their desired location and time and will be matched with other students going in the same direction. When a match can’t be found, users also have the option to call an Uber or Lyft, allowing students to safely get home any time, any day.
With 38,204 matriculated students and thousands of programs available on campus, the University of California Berkeley can often be a daunting place to find health services and support. In response to the issues that students face, the American Medical Student Association: Community and Public Health Committee seeks to create an iOS mobile phone application that works as a unique one-stop resource for addressing health at Berkeley connecting students with available support. While there are some other applications which provide limited information or help, the unique point of this application is to consolidate all resources that students would need into one centralized location. The application addresses mental health, sleep, nutrition, exercise, sexual health, illnesses, and provides assistance when walking home or at a party situation. In addition to direct student benefits, anonymous data from all application users could eventually be collected and analyzed for use with future campus projects.
Organic chemistry is one of the most “feared” classes amongst all undergraduates across the nation; this is partly because organic chemistry forces students to think visually about molecules and see how they can come together to create unique compounds. React! is an innovative and collaborative board game intended to address many of the challenges to learning organic chemistry. Created by a team of students who have proficiently mastered and taught all the subtle aspects of organic chemistry, React! is designed to meet the needs of students learning organic chemistry for the first time. The team has worked hard to structure the game such that players perceive organic chemistry as a challenging, yet rewarding puzzle as opposed to a series of facts to memorize. Ultimately, we hope React! empowers students to think critically about organic chemistry in a collaborative and entertaining environment.
Because of the breadth of departments and courses that Berkeley offers every semester, both undergraduate and graduate students often feel overwhelmed and either make course choices based on word of mouth recommendations or stick with their departmental offerings. Even when students choose to venture outside these academic silos, current tools require students to have specific goals or courses in mind, and as a result, students fall back to making decisions within known boundaries. To provide students with more knowledge and control to shape their academic journey, CourseExplorer is a mobile app that enables both current and prospective students to discover courses, subjects and topics of interest in a more engaging and interactive way. Emulating approaches similar to dating apps, CourseExplorer matches students’ predefined criteria with relevant courses. This encourages exploration and long-term academic engagement and planning.
When Berkeley undergraduates engage in immersive research experiences, it can be one of the most transformative and fruitful adventures of their college career. Yet, many new students are deterred from even getting started. This problem stems from a tendency for programs to favor already experienced students and difficulty for new students in navigating a complex myriad of Berkeley resources. ULAB is a student-run research laboratory to help freshman and sophomores from all backgrounds and skill levels get started in research. ULAB members tour research labs to engage with the research community, they complete mini research projects to develop skills that align with their interests, and they work with junior and senior mentors to build professional networks by learning from those who succeeded before them. We are emphasizing new ways to reach underrepresented and socioeconomically disadvantaged students by partnering with the residence halls and existing organizations.
Luminavi is a dynamic anonymous reporting and data collection app that will allow the campus community to identify spaces on campus where sexual misconduct is prevalent. Using the information aggregated from the app, service providers like the Restorative Justice (RJ) Center can more effectively direct services to those spaces. The RJ Center will promote opportunities for the community to dialogue in these “spaces” so that victims, offenders, and bystanders have a meaningful opportunity to voice their concerns and can be better informed about how to change the social as well as cultural dynamics in those spaces that enable sexual misconduct. Through access to data provided by app users that illuminate trends in particular spaces, Luminavi can help institutions use big data to adjust their overall response strategy to address sexual misconduct. Over time, Luminavi can catalyze more evidence-driven, community-based responses to sexual misconduct.
UbiSafe provides discreet personal protection that is accessible at your fingertips. With crime rates rising year after year, consumers are flooded with new-fangled safety gadgets from something as simple as a whistle or a stun gun to something more high-tech like emergency apps. The thing is, they don’t work. Whistles and stun guns, when misused, escalate the situation, and you do not have time to unlock your phone and start an app when someone has you at gunpoint. UbiSafe’s team decided to take advantage of how people always have their phones in hand, whether in use or not, to allow for a faster and more discreet system of emergency reporting. UbiSafe’s Nappi utilizes an NFC-powered tactile button connected to your smartphone via mobile application. Simply press, hold, and release the button, and the police and your family will be alerted of your precise location and sent a message without potentially aggravating the attacker.
In 2014, one in four students said they had to “skip meals in order to save money.” Campus Cooks (CC) seeks to provide students with resources to help alleviate hunger and food insecurity. These two issues contribute to the deterioration of physical and mental health, increased stress, and hindered academic success. The Campus Cooks application includes cooking recipes with concise and informative text, appealing photos, and engaging videos. CC includes a breakdown of the cost of ingredients for recipes as well as nutrient information for the complete dishes. Food assistance programs are detailed on the app in an effort to make students aware of food pantries, urban farms, and other programs that can provide immediate relief. Whether a student is the next Rachael Ray or cannot crack an egg, Campus Cooks consolidates the resources necessary to mitigate one of the most pressing issues for students.
Poor mental health is a widespread issue plaguing college students across the country. SafeSpace is a website and mobile application for UC Berkeley undergraduates to comfortably share their similar mental health issues through an anonymous, peer-led chat. By keeping it anonymous, students do not have to worry about being stigmatized. SafeSpace will facilitate the transition of first year, transfer, and minority students (including those with disabilities) into Cal by providing them with an outlet for psychological support. The project plans to initially target these groups, although it will not be exclusive to these populations. SafeSpace will serve as a means for students to adapt to the challenges associated with attending a large university, understand that there is a community of people out there like themselves, and have a comfortable space to share their issues with someone who is able to relate to their struggles.