Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Vike app aims to promote student events

What started as a Senior Inquiry (SI) project in 2019 is now a fully developed app available on iOS and Android. Vike, an app that shows current events and programs on campus, was created by current seniors Hung Tran and Stephanie Nhi Le. 

The app was made public on Monday, March 18. Instructions on how to download can be found here

According to app developers, Vike is designed as a cost-effective and easy way for groups on campus to promote their events.

“The way we promote events right now can be overwhelming,” Le said. “It doesn’t always catch the attention of people who really want to go to them.”

Le and Tran both began working on the app last school year. Vike was initially created by a team of six in 2019 for their SI.

The original team consisted of Kyle Workman, Jared Haeme, Brandon Thompson, Jack Cannell, Brent Pierce and Paige Oucheriah. However, due to COVID-19, the app development was put on hold. 

“Basically, I just built a new app,” Tran said. “But it inherited the same features.”

According to Tran, that’s because the app takes multiple forms: Android and iOS as well as web for those creating events to be shown in the app.

“I mean, the code was fine,” Tran said. “But the architecture makes it hard to deploy the app. The caveat is, [no matter what language we program in,] it’s still tied with the native code.”

Android apps and iOS apps run in different programming languages. React Native, which Tran used, is a software for people looking to write an app that can run on both Android and iOS.

Forrest Stonedahl, professor of computer science, said that Ken Brill, OSL director, reached out asking for an app to make event promotion easier. The challenge now is finding students who can work with the various technologies.

“At the time, [OSL] was paying for a commercial app,” Stonedahl said. “The OSL was about to launch [Vike] and then COVID hit.”

Vike is cost-effective in that it saves about $7,000 a year when compared to the commercial app the OSL used to use, according to Stonedahl. 

Following COVID-19, the seniors who worked on the app graduated, and in 2021, Stonedahl reached out to Tran, who rebuilt and maintained the app.

“I remember showing Ken Brill and he was like, ‘oh it looks really good,’” Tran said. “But I didn’t have time to campaign and market it.”

That’s where Le comes in. With her background in computer science, design and marketing, she worked with Tran to make the app available for all students. Le also was already involved with OSL. 

“We want there to be equal opportunity for every student organization to be able to promote their event,” Le said.

Both Le and Tran said that analog or traditional marketing such as posters can be ineffective. Off-campus and commuter students, for example, might not see the posters. The student bulletin, an email students receive a few times a week, can be difficult to read.

Small clubs struggle to maintain visibility, while event promotion can be disorganized. Vike aspires to be a central place for finding out about events.

“Part of the problem is technological, where it’s about making an app that has the right features,” Stonedahl said. “Part of the problem is social, where it’s about getting group leaders to use it and students in the habit of using it.”


Stephanie Nhi Le formerly worked for the Observer.

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