SIUE launches new sustainability app for community

Chronicle Media

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s new sustainability app.

It’s a scavenger hunt of the sustainability kind that will hopefully prove to be both fun and informative for theSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville community, according to the co-creator of a new mobile application.

“I wanted to bring more awareness about sustainability accomplishments and advances at SIUE,” said Connie Frey Spurlock, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies. “I’ve been thinking about creating this app since I heard about a similar idea at a conference in 2015.” She introduced the new sustainability app to the University community at the end of April. The application only works while on the SIUE campus.

“I have used the idea of a scavenger hunt before in my classroom, and students truly appreciate it,” said Frey Spurlock. “It forces students, staff and faculty to get out and find out all the sustainability features on our campus.”

Currently, the app highlights 20 sustainability points of interest. When users click on a point of interest located on the map, information is given for that sustainability feature. Some of the sites to visit on the new app include:

  • Natural Connections’ Student Food Garden
  • Zip cars
  • Bike repair station
  • The Student Organization for Sustainability (SOS) office
  • The Student Success Center green roof
  • School of Engineering Annex
  • SIUE Nature Preserve

Programming the sustainability application were (L-R) computer science alumni students Jordin Ray, Stephen Russell and Erin Balding. (Photo courtesy of SIUE)

Alumni Erin Balding, Stephen Russell and Jordin Ray designed the app. The three computer science students graduated in May 2017. Gary Mayer, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science in the SIUE School of Engineering and senior project coordinator, assigned the task of designing the sustainability application to the students.

“It was a cool project and I’m happy I got to work on it,” said Balding. “We talked to Connie and learned what her vision was for the app, and what she needed. The programming wasn’t too difficult. The most challenging thing was the time constraint. We only had two semesters to work on it.

“With technology today, this app is a great way to reach people,” Balding added. “I wasn’t that interested in sustainability, but from doing this project I learned a lot about what SIUE has to offer. I’m hoping that will be the same for others, and it will be a fun app to use.”





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