As COVID-19 strikes the nation, the ability for students at all levels to create meaningful friendships has taken a hit. The lack of collaboration among peers not only poses an educational risk, but a mental health one. The efficacy of study groups cannot be understated. A study by Dr. Reinhardt, from the University of Pennsylvania, notes that collaboration helps students gain a better understanding of the course material as they gain valuable insight from their peers. Universities are in need of a way to implement a safe virtual community founded on the values of productivity, accountability, and friendship. This is why we created FirePit, a mobile group messaging app that facilitates communication between peers with the goal of fostering a productive virtual community on each college campus.

What it does

Allows user to input their bio, picture, course CRN’s, personality traits, hobbies, and what they are looking for in a peer friendship; Generates “potential” friendships based on matching algorithms; Users can either select or reject a potential friendship; Users are able to navigate through the chat function; Outside of COVID response, FirePit can help online universities as well international, transfer, and freshmen students who might need additional assistance in connecting with peers;

What's something new you learned in the creation of your project?

We learned how to use numerous Swift storyboarding techniques to refine the UI of our app and make it seem as friendly as possible

How did you incorporate this year's theme into it?

We constructed an app to build friendships ;)

If you attended any workshops, how did you use that to your advantage?

We attended the GIT workshop, and it helped strengthen our knowledge of Git cloning and Git uploads. The angular workshop was also helpful, but we were more accustomed to using React.

How we developed our App

We coded our application via Swift and used the Xcode project system. For the login system and backend database structure, we used google's Firebase to hold all the data.We used a linked list data structure to hold our data and easily traverse through it, additionally we used the principles of polymorphism to define the different classes used to outline and create the app.;

Challenges we ran into

Creating a custom storage algorithm via linked list data structure; Getting adjusted to using the Xcode project system; Getting familiar with APIs and Google’s firebase; Sleep;

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Getting a login system to work; Having a chat functionality; Good-looking UI; A fire video;

What's next for FirePit

We hope to apply for Georgia Tech’s Create X Startup Launch program. Through Create X, we hope to gain the knowledge and skills to implement our idea at the university level.

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