Now there just might be an app for everything.
The university’s first Saluki App Competition, which runs Jan. 28 through Mar. 29, allows individuals or teams the opportunity to create a mobile device software application that could enhance the university and/or southern Illinois.
Amy McMorrow, university technology specialist, said this is the first year the event is happening and the competition satisfies a growing passion around the university. The competition is designed to encourage student involvement as well as teach how to create useful and valuable apps, she said.
“We know that there is a lot of interest around campus in app development,” she said. “We’ve just heard from a lot of faculty we’ve talked to, and students as well,
that app development on campus is pretty widespread, so we kind of wanted to tap into that.”
McMorrow said participants must apply online and answer questions about their app as well as present video presentations and photographs of their app. After apps are approved they will be posted online, and anyone can vote on their favorite.
She said the event’s goal is to educate students on how to develop their app concepts.
“We want to also start to educate people, if they do have an app idea, how to bring it forward,” McMorrow said. “And if they want to develop it or make a business out of it, we also will be able to help them with that.”
John Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and graduate dean, said the competition was an off-shoot of the Saluki Idea Competition, which encourages students to develop solutions for global issues such as
sustainability. “It’s a popular idea for students
to work on that is potentially employable and commercializable,” he said. “So, it’s a way for us to further encourage entrepreneurial spirit and innovation on the campus, particularly among students.”
While the university will evaluate and help students convert their ideas into mobile app format, it is up to participants to mass distribute their app or make a business out of it, Koropchak said.
Students agree the competition allows them to express their ingenuity and creativity.
Rori Speck, a freshman from Evanston studying journalism, said she would like to see an app that displays every patron at bars to help find or avoid specific people.
She said the competition is a great way for students to show their innovation, since apps are commonplace.
“A lot of people have smart phones and a lot of people use apps,
so it’s kind of popular,” she said. Brendon Tarvin, a junior from Alton studying accounting, said app building knowledge can be beneficial when students look at
potential careers. “I think that if students are
in a specific major that would allow them to benefit from it so other organizations can see that, specifically on their resume, it gives them first-hand experience aside from different things like internships,” he said. “It definitely allows them to show their creativity
and they can market that to future employers.”
Competition teams may be composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public, but students — undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time, according to the competition rules — must make up at least half of the team.
The winners will be announced at the university’s annual Research Town Meeting Apr. 16.