Campus Life

SU events; there's an App for that


As the halls of the University of Lethbridge fill with both new and returning students, a familiar, incessant hum accompanies them – the tunes and tones of mobile devices.

Smartphones and mobile devices have become an integral part of campus life and this month, looking to capitalize on this trend, the University of Lethbridge Students' Union (ULSU) unveils its new mobile application.

The brainchild of SU vice president academic Andrew Williams, the mobile application traces its roots back to December 2010 when Williams was a member of the ULSU General Assembly.

"I noticed that an increasing number of universities were building and releasing iPhone applications that allowed students to access maps, news, events and other informational items on the go. It was something I really wanted to bring to the University of Lethbridge," says Williams.

Over the ensuing months, Williams researched numerous application developers and created a detailed document covering all aspects of development and implementation. He then presented his proposal to the Executive Council and General Assembly. Despite initially receiving a lukewarm reception, Williams continued developing the project.

Once he was elected to the VP academic office, Williams received an offer from Canadian developer CollegeMobile, who sought to develop the proposed application for a much lower cost than other competing developers.

"I worked together with the incoming council and the SU staff for about a month on the final details of the application until we had something we were all satisfied and comfortable with," says Williams. "Since then, I've been beta testing each version of the application to make sure there are no errors in the final product."

The mobile app delivers up-to-date information on ULSU events and news, information on every council member, Pronghorns athletic events, an interactive campus map and it integrates both Moodle and Facebook.
"I think that most students will be surprised at how much information it contains and how easy it is to navigate," says Williams.

The ULSU Mobile App is another building block in the Executive Council's strategic initiatives, reinforcing its aspiration to boost the ULSU's on-campus presence, improve communication and promote sustainability on campus.

"The goal of the application is to allow the ULSU to communicate with students through a medium which has become a part of everyday life for most of them," says Williams. "Best of all, the application is free, and I think students will find it to be extremely useful and convenient."

The ULSU Mobile App is available for download from the Apple, Android and Blackberry App stores.