Universities provide students with currencies that can only be used on-campus for dining. Most of these students who live on-campus end up with an excess of this currency and don’t know what to do with it, and they usually forfeit the excess money at the end of the term. Universities waste TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars a year that could be processed, transacted, and recycled. On the other hand, many students who live off-campus find it very convenient to eat on campus, but without an on campus meal plan, find it too expensive to be a viable option. If there was a way to connect these two demographics, a profit could be made due to the stark disparity between the supply of the on-campus demographic with the demand of the off-campus demographic.

What it does

We created a multi-sided market that caters to swipers, customers, and those who are food insecure.The app capitalizes on the stark price differences in on-campus food currencies in dining halls with off-campus credit card prices. The app allows on-campus students to get real money for their on-campus currencies and off-campus students to get cheaper meals. We centered the platform around community engagement and donation by allowing all users to donate to a student community fund based on their university and also to their closest metro area food pantry based on open-source data from Feeding America. This web app connects swipers and customers through an innovative scheduling and check-in system. Our web app is supported by a NoSQL database and a Node.js back-end.

How we built it

Our approach to this web app was to create a login system where each user could choose to be a swiper or a customer. We wrote the front-end with JavaScript and used DynamoDB to utilize a server-less system with AWS. We incorporated a database system in our app to show users where they could donate their meals to, such as university food insecurity funds or local food pantries. This web app was designed primarily through HTML and CSS.

Challenges we ran into

Implementing the back-end of the app presented us with issues since most of us did not have prior experience with back-end development.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We enjoyed working together on a project that we felt could lead to a major change to not only students at UT, but also to students at universities around the world. This project also allowed us to work through technical difficulties in a project setting to learn more about building web apps.

What we learned

This project allowed us to gain experience with creating a web app and how to integrate it with databases. In particular, we learned how to use AWS to make our app server-less with DynamoDB.

What's next for SwipeMeIn

We hope that we can extend this app beyond the UT campus and solve similar problems in other locations. We intend to first expand to off-campus residence halls, like Callaway and Dobie, and then even further to other universities in Texas, the United States, and around the world.

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