The student-organised Covid Action Plan at Wellesley proves that mutual aid works, and that Wellesley students want it to thrive on campus. However, the following barriers limit the system's effectiveness:
- GIVING HELP is inefficient for already busy students.
- GETTING HELP can be overwhelming and confusing for those already tired and sick.
Our mutual aid connection system makes it easy, flexible, and convenient to volunteer in assisting Wellesley sibs in need, especially for disabled, neurodivergent, or chronically-ill students.
What it does
We built a website where sibs can either request for supplies and food or can sign up as a volunteer. Then it will match up requestors with volunteers via the Twilio messenger chatbot. The user information is then stored using SQL and CockroachDB.
Challenges we ran into
Because we all had very little experience in both front end and back end programming, we ran into a lot of challenges implementing the website. We had to learn about Flask and SQL from scratch. Implementing Twilio and CockroachDB into the website was also difficult as we did not have sufficient prior knowledge in using them.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud that we were able to go from knowing just the basics about website development to then building a full-stack website that can actually serve a purpose in the Wellesley community.
What we learned
We learned a lot about the design and software development process. We realised the importance of being realistic with what we can build under pressure with a looming deadline. Although we had to sacrifice many features we felt passionate about, we were able to create a product we are proud of.
What's next for Covid Mutual Aid
We hope to expand our features to better assist disabled, neurodivergent, or chronically-ill students, not just in regards to Covid.