I have been a part of a club at Purdue which is namely Student Think Tank for India. The mission statement for the club has been to promote the culture of civic engagement in the youth of India and to help them critically analyze the political and social condition in India. Recently we expanded from Purdue chapter to target schools in India and aim to receive increased participation from students back there. India has still been struggling to break loose from the shackles of social stigma and dogma. The sole aim of the program is to help empower the youth to take informed decisions.

Through this portal my teammate and I envision to expand to all corners where the voice of youth could help them better themselves and make a place in the society. It might not bring a drastic social change, but would definitely help in the process of stimulating the same.

What it does

Our portal is an online debating platform where people can freely and, at the same time, respectfully air their views while being exposed to varied viewpoints from around the world. This would help them to learn from various viewpoints from different societies and cultural background.

How I built it

Backend was outsourced to Parse. Using the parse API we made a really beautified client side for the users to debate on. For the front end we made extensive use of javaScript and JQuery libraries. This made the UI really appealing and enhanced the UX.

We have maintained a system of ending debates within a given time frame to avoid the debate from becoming a clutter-some and conclusion less. This differentiates us from all the other online debate platforms.

Challenges I ran into

We had difficulty planning the data structure and the database model for our platform. We spent enough time to reach a conclusion to finally have Users, Debates, Posts (belonging to each debate) as separate classes.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We made a good start in the past 36 hours to make a dream project reach a stepping stone. We were able to get the MVP ready and have users sign up and use the platform. We received really great response for the extremely beautified UI brought out with the help of MaterializedCSS.

What I learned

I learned a great deal of JavaScript and JQuery which was used in handling the major part of client side.

What's next for Think-Tank

I envision this project to go a long way in making a social impact. There are a few features that I would like to have in the upcoming days to make this portal more user friendly. I plan to segregate the posts based on issues: political, social, economic, etc.. It would be simpler for the audience to view or participate in any debate of their choice. Also we plan to scale this by introducing images, videos and links to corroborate points made by each poster.

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