“Uni-Life works like an electronic calendar listing all activities being organised for students,” Annega explains. Users can indicate the types of events they are interested in, and will then be shown upcoming events based on these preferences. They can mark the events they like and wish to attend, and can even save them directly to Google Calendar or iCal. “In this way, you can have everything stored in one place on your mobile,” says Annega.
Environment-friendly and convenient
“When we embarked on our degrees, we had no idea what kinds of events the various societies were organising,” Annega says. “EUR has nearly one hundred different organisations that have their own media channels, so following each and every one of them is next to impossible.”
The two friends don’t think the flyers currently used on campus to promote events are very efficient. After all, it costs a lot of money to have them printed, and they are not environmentally friendly. Last year, Annega and Smulders conducted a market survey that showed that students immediately threw away 95 per cent of the flyers they received. “That’s why we wanted to create a digital platform that is environmentally friendly and presents information in a convenient manner,” says Smulders.
“We want to create a digital platform that is environmentally friendly and presents information in a convenient manner.”
Annega and Smulders successfully pitched their idea to EUR. The university was willing to finance the project, allowing the boys and an external partner to build the app. “I think EUR wished to collaborate with us because our idea fitted in well with all the other green initiatives being undertaken on this campus,” says Annega.
The Uni-Life app was launched in August and now has over 4,000 users. The number of new users keeps growing, and Annega and Smulders have a lot of plans to further expand Uni-Life. “At the moment we are obviously focusing on our core business, which is the calendar, but in the future we will expand Uni-Life. For instance, we may give organisations their own pages within the app, or we may enable the purchase of entry tickets through Uni-Life.”
In the first few months of 2019, Uni-Life will embark on a campaign to stop the use of flyers. “We hope everyone will know the advantages of Uni-Life by that time, so that together we can make EUR the first flyer-free campus in the world,” says Annega.
They hope to expand their business outside EUR, as well, since ‘the pollution caused by flyers is a nation-wide problem’. They are currently in negotiations with several other universities. “We want the societies and students to be able to use the app for free, but that means the universities must pay for the service and its upkeep.”
At present, five other universities use the app. Says Annega, “Our ambition is to see Uni-Life used by all Dutch universities by 2020.”