KATIE GOODRICH/ NEWS CO-EDITOR
The Innovation Fund allotted grant money to develop a new Butler mobile app.
Austin Del Priore, vice president of administration for the Student Government Association, and Rachel Skelton, Council on Presidential Affairs member, applied for a grant to kick start the process.
The Innovation Fund gives money to various projects each year to “help the university reach new levels of excellence,” according to Butler’s website.
SGA received $25,000 towards the new app, which has been on the group’s radar since 2011, Skelton said.
Butler Information Technology moved forward with a mobile site by making my.butler.edu accessible on phones. This mobile site has been available as an app since 2013.
A mobile site makes a website easier to view on a mobile phone, while an app integrates with the phone and uses different functionalities.
Del Priore said he thinks the new app will be a “true mobile application which would add content accessibility and functionality.”
Butler marketing and communications, along with IT, will be heavily involved in the process, which will be university-wide project.
Del Priore said the university has been ready to move forward with the project, but nobody was ready to finance it.
“As SGA, we didn’t necessarily feel that we wanted to put up the money to something that was pretty much universally used by campus and what we felt like the university should be pursuing,” he said.
Skelton said they thought SGA should give the money, but they ran into the issue of maintaining the app.
“We wanted Butler to have a vested interest in it,” she said. “So when a new SGA administration comes in, it’s not forgotten about.”
There are no deadlines or projections attached to the project yet.
“I would love to leave Butler with an app,” Skelton said. “But I know every little thing takes six months and a lot of money.”
The pair said they recognize the challenges of a large project utilizing many different parties.
“On our end, we are going to move and expedite the process as fast as we can,” Del Priore said. “We’re going to try to get it out as fast as possible, but what is possible is hard to define.”
Skelton said when it is all finished she wants a functional app that students will use.
CPA did a survey last year about the Butler mobile site.
Five hundred students filled out the survey. More than 60 percent downloaded the mobile site, but 47 percent said they never use it.
Sophomore Maddie Westerhoff downloaded the mobile site.
“I use it at the beginning of the year to look at my schedule,” she said. “But after that, I don’t use it for anything else.”
She said she would use the app more if it housed the grades in a better way.
“I didn’t even know there was an app,” first-year graduate student Laura Riches said.
She said she would like an app that housed the same information that comes out in the Connection, since it would be easier to go to the app than to sift through emails.
“We have a pretty keen sense of what students want, being students ourselves and interacting with our peers on campus,” Del Priore said. “But, at the same time, we like to reaffirm everything with hard data.”
Del Priore and Skelton will have their first meeting with the Innovation Fund on Sept. 5.