Branda team plans community app updates

Branda, an application created by a group of Brandeis undergraduate students that combines various aspects of student life, will soon have new features added to it, following its launch in December 2018. Since its launch, it has around 400 daily users and, according to Benjamin Segal ’20, the update will come out on Sept. 1.

Branda was created in response to several issues students were struggling with on campus. A survey sent out to students indicated that students often have trouble finding Brandeis-related information. When asked what students would want to see in an app, the top responses were: shuttle tracking, a calendar with all events, dining hours and facilities requests.

One of the developers of the app, Sam Stern ’20, spoke to The Brandeis Hoot about the coding process. Stern said that the hardest part of the process was connecting to third-party providers of information. “For the calendar, getting all of the event information was the toughest part,” Stern said.

Branda, a Community Emergency and Enhancement Fund (CEEF) project, is meant to provide students with the easy use of accurate data and information all collected in one place, according to Segal.

The existing version of Branda includes the open hours of the two dining halls, library and Gosman, tracks the BranVans and shuttles, hosts a map of the Brandeis campus, acts as a platform to submit facilities requests and contains a calendar of events happening on campus.

The creators of Branda are working on adding menus from the two dining halls, improving the map by adding a search function and allowing students to sort events into categories that interest them. Stern said the search function is one of the easiest parts to code. “Everyone needs to do text searching, so we can build off other people’s ideas and code,” he said.

According to the creators, there will be seven new features added on Sept. 1. The largest change will include the addition of a profile page, in which the user will be able to see their MyHousing and WhoCash Balance, which will also ease the creation of a personalized calendar. They are hoping to add the features of Schdl.net to the app as well. There will be improvements to the dining menus on the app, as well as a new shuttle tracking system. More ambitious ideas of the creators include creating a system of shuttle reservation which would be done through Branda and a notification system.

In the future, the creators of Branda hope to make additional changes such as further integration of the Gosman schedule, access to LATTE, as well as making appointments in the Writing Center. They are also hoping to add voice recognition software, parking availability on campus, as well as areas of high student traffic.

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