We were inspired by the prompts of social activism and connecting with others. What if we could find a way to somehow do both at the same time?
After all, virtually connecting and networking with fellow activists anywhere can make us better activists ourselves. Through networking, we'll be able to find more relevant events and learn more insightful viewpoints and facts.
It'll give us inspiration and suggestions for when we really want to help, but don't know what to do.
What it does
It's like a "LinkedIn for activists". Users will create profiles and fill out their information related to their activist side, such as the issues they care about such as mental health, gender equality, racial equality, or animal rights, and who they'd like to meet such as their favorite activists. They can optionally fill out demographic/identity-related information such as ethnicity, gender, etc mainly for other users interested in identity-based social issues to identify and connect with them.
Once you've made a profile and added connections, you'll have a news feed where you can see what your connections are up to. It'll also show you posts from public profiles you'd be interested in based on your profile with an algorithm similar to that of Quora's feed. On the right hand side, you'll get alerts of unusual activity such as a KKK rally nearby. You can explore local events and communities based on both identity and cause, such as a group for BIPOC with depression, a group for ending hunger in Los Angeles, or a group for fostering stray dogs in New York City.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Thinking of a name was a bit challenging because most activism-related names we thought of came off as rather intimidating and aggressive since activism is often associated with such sentiments. We wanted something that had a more welcoming and encouraging energy -- the emotions we want our platform to evoke -- so we decided to go the foreign language route and chose the Latin word for “community”.
We are all beginners in web development. We had also never used APIs before. It was difficult trying to integrate the API into our website, and a lot of time was also spent trying to figure out how APIs work. Designing the website was fun, but as beginners, it was also hard to code the website exactly the way we had envisioned it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We think that this platform would be very helpful to activists who would like to attend more events and connect with other activists, especially if they are located in an area that does not have much activism or people in general. This could be very useful to people who have just recently relocated and are looking to quickly engage with the local activism community and easily find organizations and users with common interests.
What we learned
We definitely learned a lot about coding APIs and the UI/UX of a social networking platform.
What's next for Civitas
We’d like to include more educational and informational pages, such as an organization search page so users can find organizations relevant to their location and interests. Different cities can have their own pages where they can summarize common local issues and spotlight certain events and organizations.
!! How to use the prototype:
The login uses a Facebook API, so if you're already logged into a Facebook account, it'll show up. However, the API is not fully developed so logging in with your Facebook will not work. That's why we have a test user!
Open an Incognito window and log in with these credentials: Username: firstname.lastname@example.org Password: tech2021