October 10, 2013

Blazer Nation: An App for Students Created by Students

The creators of the Blazer Nation app. From left to right: Jamal Simpson, Justyn Brownridge, Matthew Flannigan, Zebedee Lawton, Taray Eady. Seated: Gisele Greaux and Fania Braaf.

VALDOSTA – A team of Valdosta State University students recently created a mobile app that streamlines the process of accessing campus services. In two months, the Blazer Nation app already has more than 3,600 downloads for iOS and Android devices.

“The Blazer Nation app is a one-stop student hub, bringing popular campus services and other features to a student’s mobile device.” said Taray Eady, president of Blazer Nation and computer science student. “It allows students to easily access some of the most frequently used VSU services such as Blazeview, Banner, e-mail, the parking portal and online student accounts. It also features a campus map, Quick Contacts and Blazelist.”

The campus map uses students’ GPS location to show where they are and provides directions to different campus buildings.

“The Quick Contacts feature contains a list of departments that we as students felt were the most regularly called,” explained Eady. “When you click on a contact you will see their hours of operation, phone number and in some cases an e-mail or sms option. We also built a new online community board that can be accessed in-app and via the web called Blazelist. It has the same concept as Craigslist, but it is only open to VSU students, faculty and staff. Users can market events, find housing or roommates for off-campus living and post items such as textbooks, electronics, furniture, appliances and more for sale. This allows for a safer transaction between parties because you know that whoever you set an arrangement with is a part of the VSU community.”

Created by students, the Blazer Nation app is intended to assist students primarily. However, it is open to the public. The app is currently available for iOS and Android devices. The creators plan to release a solution for other mobile devices such as Blackberry and Windows later this semester.

The idea to create an app was conceived after looking at various mobile services provided at other institutions. The creators explored options to meet the needs of the campus.

“We, as students, know how much we wished for something like this to come along to make our lives easier,” said Eady. “While our original plan was to start on a smaller project, we realized that we needed to build something that would be used daily by students, faculty and staff. After three months of designing, coding and testing, our app was released to the public August 9th.”

Eady stressed that the team has not personally profited from the app.

“We have received support from the community to help fund promotional giveaways and tools required for the project,” he said. “The only benefit we have received is the satisfaction of having provided a service to students that was not previously available.”

The Blazer Nation team includes students from the College of the Arts, College of Arts and Sciences and Langdale College of Business Administration. The team is comprised of four developers, including Eady along with Jamal Simpson, computer science student; Justyn Brownridge, computer information systems student; and Zebedee Lawton, finance and economics student. Fania Braaf, a visual arts student, serves as the team’s graphic designer and Gisele Greaux, international business major and advertising and promotions minor, is the team’s marketing strategist.

Blazer Nation is now a student organization open to students of all majors who have an interest in programming, graphic design and business.  For more information about the organization, visit https://valdosta.collegiatelink.net/organization/blazernation . The Blazer Nation app can be found at http://www.theblazernation.com and Blazelist can be found at www.blazelist.org .

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals:

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.