Have you ever had an idea for an app, but didn’t feel like you had the coding or software skills to bring it to life? Look no further than Mendix, the low-code software development solution that allows users to create fully functional applications without any prior engineering experience. Mendix gives people of all skillsets the opportunity to create technology to make an impact on their community and innovate without the barrier of advanced technical knowledge.
Our latest Global Student Challenge tasked students to use Mendix to develop creative applications that help solve real-world problems. After many great submissions, today we are announcing the winners!
First Place: Tobias Rafael Beetz
App Name: Campus Forest
School: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Tobias Rafael Beetz is currently pursuing a double degree in geography and informatics and will be graduating in February 2021 from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich . During his first professional experience, Beetz discovered a passion for coding and the positive impact he could make through technology, especially as it pertains to the climate crisis. When asked about the inspiration behind his app he said, “I am convinced that apps can be part of tackling climate change by raising awareness and giving incentive for behavior improvement.” With all this in mind, Beetz used Mendix to help students decrease the CO2 produced from their daily activities by offsetting their decisions by making sustainable decisions later.
The app centers around the idea that not all of our daily actions have sustainable alternatives yet, but there is an opportunity to decrease your impact by offsetting those actions with subsequent behavior. For example, if you’re flying somewhere with a group friends, you produce a carbon footprint depending on the type of the plane and the distanced you traveled. You can then create a group inside the app where you can offset the pollution caused by your share of the flight by donating to an environmental advocacy group. This compensates for the flight, and the app will calculate the donation and translate it into virtual trees. You can watch as your virtual forest grows and see the impact your school is making by viewing your “campus forest.” As more campuses join the application, the schools with the largest forests are ranked by impact, giving the app a competitive atmosphere.
Talking about his reasoning for the app design, Beetz said, “The [illustration of virtual trees] makes it more appealing especially to young adults who enjoy visual experiences more than bare numbers. Also, it creates an atmosphere of affiliation and purpose, as everyone in that group and the campus are trying to achieve the same goal – plant more trees for a better future.
Second Place: Jorge Lara, James Toh & Rafael Fernando
App Name: Bookswap
School: San Francisco State University
Jorge Lara, James Toh & Rafael Fernando from San Francisco State University hope their app Bookswap can make buying used college textbooks more efficient and cheaper for students who are struggling to pay the costly economic demands of college. The trio is comprised of three undergraduate seniors majoring in business information systems. After being introduced to Mendix in the classroom, the team agreed that the process of buying textbooks could be improved. Fernando said of the idea, “The idea of creating a platform for textbooks was inspired by my personal struggles in buying textbooks for classes… other than an inconsistently active Facebook group, I did not know where to look to buy used textbooks. I continued to think about it, and I realized that I also have many textbooks from past classes that will probably never see the light of day again. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that an app like this could potentially save so many students money, time, and stress in buying textbooks.”
Using the Mendix platform the team was able to quickly learn the basics and get their idea off the ground. James Toh talked about his experience with the project, “Throughout the process of creating the app, our team got the privilege of learning to navigate and leverage Mendix tools to create something special. I am happy with how our app turned out and am proud of our team for all the work put into this throughout the semester.” Although the team hadn’t worked with Mendix in the past, this didn’t hinder their ability to bring their campus solution to action, all while having fun and creating relationships with their peers in the process.
Like the rest of the team, Jorge Lara wasn’t very familiar with Mendix, but found his rhythm with the software after a while. “Once I started to use the application along with my teammates, it wasn’t as hard to use as I thought it would be. The application was very easy to use in creating pages and microflows and the customization options came in very handy with what we wanted our app to look like.”
Congratulations to our winners for creating such great applications. We can’t wait to see the impact they make on your campus communities. Check out the Siemens Student Hub for our available free student software downloads, and keep checking back to enter our next Global Student Challenge!