Mobile App Adds News, Laundry, Travel Features

Georgetown debuted new changes to the Georgetown Mobile App in hopes to make the Georgetown bureaucracy easier to navigate and make the Georgetown-specific website more accessible.

The app now includes tabs for Laundry Alert, Student News, the Student Advocacy Office, Blackboard and travel information features.

“I think that the beauty of what you see now in the app is you see real time data, and it does provide, then, students a more effective way to manage their time,” UIS Deputy Chief Information Officer Judd Nicholson said. “They aren’t, then, spending a lot of time standing in front of a machine or going up and down stairs. You really can look at it, it will alert you when the machine is ready.”

University Information Services worked with student groups and solicited suggestions from the online Georgetown Ideas forum to develop the ideas for implementing changes to the app.

The idea for the integration of Laundry Alert, a program that alerts students of the availability and usage of washers and dryers in residence laundry facilities, originated from Hoya Roundtables and the work of Georgetown University Student Association.

The funding for the Laundry Alert feature was generated by students’ laundry service payments. Amounting to less than five percent of the total revenues, the money is usually used to upgrade dorm facilities.

“We had this much money for those kind of renovations, and we determined we could use this,” Vice President for Planning and Facilities Robin Morey said. “It was probably of better value than adding some furniture.”

As for possible glitches that may occur with the launch of the app, UIS relies on student feedback and testing for future improvements.

The Student News feature will include tabs where students can access articles by The Hoya, The Voice and its Vox Populi blog and GUSA.

The Student Advocacy Office’s section within the app will allow students to access frequently asked questions about the Student Code of Conduct, a feature already available on the office’s website.

“We came up with a list of frequently asked questions and we came up with some responses to them,” Student Advocacy Office Co-Director Ben Manzione (SFS ’15) said. “Then what we did was we abridged that list to put the most important ones, the information that would be most relevant to students on the go, we put that into the mobile app platform.”

The inclusion of the Code of Conduct FAQ on the mobile app allows the SAO flexibility with future changes.
“We ultimately decided on frequently asked questions because we thought we could cover the most amount of information that way,” Co-Director of the SAO Michelle Mohr (COL ’15) said.

The Blackboard capability of the app will also allow students to easily access courses, view announcements, open and view course materials and check grades posted on Blackboard.

The travel information feature of the app consolidates information for international students, showing an overview of visas and travel alerts and paperwork in other countries.

GUSA Vice President Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14), who shepherded the Laundry Alert function, feels optimistic about the app changes and the direction of university’s work with students.

“I hope this is part of a bigger trend where little winnings can help make campus, help make student life that much better,” Ramadan said.

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