Inspiration

We wanted to create a better system for outreach within communities. Much social media is meant to bring us closer together, but often isolates us instead. Zusammen is centered around connecting people in the real world as quickly as possible, with as little hassle as possible.

What it does

Zusammen provides a platform that connects organizations and their events to volunteers that would like to help out at these events. Traditionally, organizations must spend precious resources to recruit volunteers and get the word out about events, while people interested in volunteering wouldn't know about these opportunities unless by pure chance. With Zusammen, potential volunteers can easily, actively search for these opportunities, and organizations have one place they can count on to find a helping hand.

How we built it

Zusammen is run on a local XAMPP Apache server with MySQL. The front end is plain HTML, CSS, and JS. PHP requests to the MySQL database grab data and send it to the front end using Ajax requests.

Challenges we ran into

Because we started this project with it running on a local Flask server, and we were using vanilla JS for the frontend, a huge time sink for us was determining how to connect our app to a database. We weren't familiar with Jinja templating and many attempts to connect to a cloud database service were unsuccessful. We rethought our approach and chose the PHP route instead (one that we were more familiar with).

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud that we were able to incorporate several of Google's API's (Google Maps Javascript and the Geocoding API's) into the project, as well as bringing a unique idea to life that could provide some actual utility in a real-world scenario.

What we learned

It's best to carefully choose your technology stack at the start of the project, and choose frameworks that are built to work well with each other, rather than trying to mash random things together because that can lead to unexpected behavior and little good documentation to consult.

What's next for Zusammen

It's unsure at this point what Zusammen's future is, but we hope the concept will pervade society in some positive form!

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