ASUC Office of the President releases mobile app to provide information for students

ASUC Mobile/Courtesy

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The ASUC Office of the President released a mobile application Tuesday that aims to provide resources and information to better link students to the ASUC.

Built from scratch during the summer, the application, called ASUC Mobile, was started by Rafi Lurie, former ASUC senator and chief of product management, and Mihir Patil, technology deputy chief of staff. The two met in a mobile application class last fall and, after realizing they both had ties to the ASUC, they decided to work together on the app. The mobile application team is now made up of 11 student programmers, designers and product managers.

“The idea behind (this) app we’re beginning is that it’s student-run, student-built,” Lurie said.

Currently, the app features ASUC news, dining hall menus and library and gym hours. It was released to coincide with Calapalooza last week, featuring a temporary map that allowed students to see when and where student organizations were tabling.

The team developed certain features based on the feedback gathered from more than 100 students through a Google Form circulated through social media during the summer.

“It seems really helpful for freshmen, since we don’t really know anything,” said UC Berkeley freshman Andrew Choi.

ASUC Mobile is not the first of its kind — another ASUC-related app by 2012-13 ASUC president Connor Landgraf was released in 2012, operating for a year and a half before it stopped being updated. It remained in the App Store without any updates before being taken down a few weeks ago to avoid confusion with the new app.

Other UC Berkeley-related mobile applications on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store include one for automatized AirBears access and several for tours, events, courses and maps.

Despite this, the new app will not only pool together all those resources, but also bring ASUC news to one place for students.

“Up until now, you really have to dig to find out what we’re doing, “said ASUC Marketing and Communications Director Joe Wilson. He sees the app as potentially changing the way ASUC will interact with the student body.

Lurie envisions the app becoming an institutional part of the ASUC that will stay relevant and expand, even after the original team graduates.

The team hopes to integrate BearWalk and a subscription system where students can receive updates from various campus clubs, with updates every three to five weeks. The next update will remove the Calapalooza map and will focus on improving current features.

The application is currently only available on iPhone, but an Android version is coming soon. Feedback on the app and suggested features can be forwarded to the ASUC Office of the President’s website.

Heyun Jeong covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @heyunjeong.