Why We Created Here

As college students, one question that we catch ourselves asking over and over again is – “Where are you studying today?” One of the most popular ways for students to coordinate is through texting. But messaging people individually can be time consuming and awkward for both the inviter and the invitee—reaching out can be scary, but turning down an invitation can be simply impolite. Similarly, group chats are designed to be a channel of communication, and as a result, a message about studying at a cafe two hours from now could easily be drowned out by other discussions or met with an awkward silence.

Just as Instagram simplified casual photo sharing from tedious group-chatting through stories, we aim to simplify casual event coordination. Imagine being able to efficiently notify anyone from your closest friends to lecture buddies about what you’re doing—on your own schedule.

Fundamentally, Here is an app that enables you to quickly notify either custom groups or general lists of friends of where you will be, what you will be doing, and how long you will be there for. These events can be anything from an open-invite work session at Bass Library to a casual dining hall lunch with your philosophy professor. It’s the perfect dynamic social calendar to fit your lifestyle.

Groups are customizable, allowing you to organize your many distinct social groups. These may be your housemates, Friday board-game night group, fellow computer science majors, or even a mixture of them all. Rather than having exclusive group chat plans, Here allows for more flexibility to combine your various social spheres, casually and conveniently forming and strengthening connections.

What it does

Here facilitates low-stakes event invites between users who can send their location to specific groups of friends or a general list of everyone they know. Similar to how Instagram lowered the pressure involved in photo sharing, Here makes location and event sharing casual and convenient.

How we built it

UI/UX Design: Developed high fidelity mockups on Figma to follow a minimal and efficient design system. Thought through user flows and spoke with other students to better understand needed functionality.

Frontend: Our app is built on React Native and Expo.

Backend: We created a database schema and set up in Google Firebase. Our backend is built on Express.js.

All team members contributed code!


Our team consists of half first years and half sophomores. Additionally, the majority of us have never developed a mobile app or used these frameworks. As a result, the learning curve was steep, but eventually everyone became comfortable with their specialties and contributed significant work that led to the development of a functional app from scratch.

Our idea also addresses a simple problem which can conversely be one of the most difficult to solve. We needed to spend a significant amount of time understanding why this problem has not been fully addressed with our current technology and how to uniquely position Here to have real change.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are extremely proud of how developed our app is currently, with a fully working database and custom frontend that we saw transformed from just Figma mockups to an interactive app. It was also eye opening to be able to speak with other students about our app and understand what direction this app can go into.

What we learned

Creating a mobile app from scratch—from designing it to getting it pitch ready in 36 hours—forced all of us to accelerate our coding skills and learn to coordinate together on different parts of the app (whether that is dealing with merge conflicts or creating a system to most efficiently use each other’s strengths).

What's next for Here

One of Here’s greatest strengths is the universality of its usage. After helping connect students with students, Here can then be turned towards universities to form a direct channel with their students. Here can provide educational institutions with the tools to foster intimate relations that spring from small, casual events. In a poll of more than sixty university students across the country, most students rarely checked their campus events pages, instead planning their calendars in accordance with what their friends are up to. With Here, universities will be able to more directly plug into those smaller social calendars to generate greater visibility over their own events and curate notifications more effectively for the students they want to target. Looking at the wider timeline, Here is perfectly placed at the revival of small-scale interactions after two years of meticulously planned agendas, allowing friends who have not seen each other in a while casually, conveniently reconnect.

The whole team plans to continue to build and develop this app. We have become dedicated to the idea over these last 36 hours and are determined to see just how far we can take Here!

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