During the brainstorming stage, our team shared our individual struggles with the college experience in hopes of finding a solution that could truly impact our lives.

We found a common passion with food. Not only is food a necessity in life, but it is also a way to connect with others. Some of us are forced to cook for ourselves in order to save money, but it is extremely difficult to find the time to consistently shop for ingredients and prepare them while juggling our busy academic and personal lives. In general, students struggle with eating at college, and many of our friends have had to skip meals because of intense workloads. As a solution, we wanted to find a cheaper and more convenient way of feeding college students that didn’t involve on-campus dining or getting takeout. On the other hand, many students love cooking but don’t have many people to share it with. This will give them an option to share food with people in their dorm and meet people along the way.

What it does

Our website connects hungry students with fellow students who can cook in an effort to save money, curb food waste, and make some new friends while enjoying delicious homemade food.

Students who can cook can make a profile and describe dishes that they’re willing to cook for others. These will appear to hungry students in a gallery view with an image of the dish, ingredients list, and cook’s profile. When a hungry student orders a dish, a chat will be opened up between the two for the logistics and transaction to occur.

If there is something specific that students want to eat, a request for a dish can be submitted by sending in a name and dish description. These listings will appear in a gallery to cooks who can then choose some to fulfill if they wish.

In addition, our website helps reduce food waste through our pantry option, which allows users to list their unused ingredients. Instead of throwing out raw materials that may go bad, students can list it on the website for anyone to take. Those struggling to afford groceries or finding the time and transportation to get groceries can also benefit from this open pantry.

How we built it

First, we used Figma to create a design of what we wanted each page to look at. After doing this, we implemented our design with React by using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and stored all of our site’s internal data in MongoDB. To connect the database to the frontend, we utilized Express and Node.js.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into challenges using React since many members in our team were not familiar with the syntax for it. This was the biggest challenge throughout our project, as we ended up trying to learn React while creating our project at the same time. We were also under the assumption that our Figma would be of more use to our frontend code, but found that simply converting the code to React was not feasible with our resources. We also ran into a time crunch when trying to implement more functional features in our prototype website.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are most proud of the main features of our product and the aesthetics we created in our Figma design. None of us had a lot of experience with design in websites, so half of our team worked hard to create a design that would be easy to understand and pleasing to view. We're extremely proud of our use of MongoDB and the working login page and profile page. With our project, a user had to create a login page in order to access the profile page, and it was fully functional. Lastly, we're proud that we were able to implement all the pages we planned to some extent through code.

What we learned

We learned a lot about React and web development in general. Our team knew the basics of web development, but after working on this project, we feel much more confident in our abilities, especially in terms of using React. We also learned more about using a backend database to store our internal data, and expanded out knowledge about MongoDB and Express. For one of the team members, she wasn't even able to implement React in her hackathon, and felt that she learned a lot making this project with her teammates.

What's next for DormEats

Next for DormEats, we want to finish implementing our Figma in general and adding the design for all of the pages we filled out. We want to create a more interactive design where users and customers can connect more easily. We also want to approach the sustainability side of our website more by putting more features in the Pantry page and expanding onto that side of the project. We also want to be able to use authenticate accounts so that only people with a .edu email address can join the university community .

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