Our inspiration came from the countless students who felt left out of their college experiences. Thanks to the transition to large lecture-based classes with over 250 people, it becomes difficult to make friends. No matter what college website, there will always be a plethora of posts requesting help regarding friendships. Since it isn't easy nor feasible to strike up a conversation in lecture halls, we figured we could take the matter into our own hands.

What it does

The app in question essentially pairs a student with other fellow students from their class. For example, if a student is in CSE 13S, then the app is going to place that student with another CE 13S student, and ideally one that has similar likes and tastes.

How we built it

We decided to build a web app that users can sign into using their UCSC emails using Google Firebase as the server and ReactJS for the client-facing website.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into many challenges as the project was of quite a large scale, larger than we have coded in recent times. From database issues to constructing a working sign in, every step of the way was a learning experience for us.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of reaching the point that we did. The process behind making something like this isn't easy, yet we pulled through and delivered a working product.

What we learned

We learned that combining React and Firebase results in a quite the powerful combo. However, there are some security vulnerabilities that have to be managed when linking a website to a server. We faced these such issues and had to patch them as we went. We also became very familiar with Git throughout this process, as we had to manage all of our individual code contributions and ensure that there were no code conflicts and all new features were added smoothly.

What's next for SlugsNetwork

We have goals to implement an AI-based system to bring people together by combining their interests into fun prompts to get conversations going. We plan to have fun direct messages so that people can find and chat one on one with other students of similar interests, and possibly even have mobile notifications whenever someone responds through a mobile client.

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