Hampton University student creates app to connect college students

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Carlos Mayers says he is a “natural problem solver.”

When he had a hard time finding someone to get food with him, the rising junior computer information systems major at Hampton University decided to create an app called JoinMi with the goal of creating connections among his fellow students.

It’s set to launch Aug. 30.

In March 2018, Mayers was sitting in his dorm with a friend and inquired about splitting a pizza.

“Every time, there’s always someone that wants to do that, but it may not be the time that they want to,” Mayers said.

His friend wasn’t interested, so he took to his university’s group chat, which was primarily inactive and didn’t focus on completing tasks, Mayers said.

“At that point in time, I faced a dilemma,” Mayers said. “And I kept that at the back of my head where I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to think about this a little bit, because it’s interesting that I faced this issue.’”

It marked a period of realization.

As the week went on, he found himself doing things he knew would be better with other people, like finding people to study with or go to the gym.

“I felt that I knew that other people on campus were interested in doing these things, but they just weren’t aware that I was as well,” Mayers said.

Thus, the concept of JoinMi was born.

Full development for the app began earlier this year. Mayers said JoinMi allows college students to have their own platform to connect.

Once students register for JoinMi using their college emails — this ensures security — they enter a space for their university. Students can go through their timelines and view posts from students on campus about activities they’re doing that they’d like someone to join them on.

To join a post, Mayers said one simply has to tap on it. It’ll bring students into a one-on-one conversation with the poster.

Mayers’ friend Sierra Smither, a rising junior psychology major, thinks JoinMi will make campus friendlier.

“I think it’ll just make everyone get to know each other better and kind of realize that we’re all in the same boat with college, and we all have certain things that we want to do, but don’t necessarily want to do by ourselves,” Smither said.

Mayers said his education at Hampton University has helped him become a more “fundamentally sound programmer,” which helped him develop the app.

“Outside of tech, I think Hampton gave me this community that I speak about the most and allowed me to find a void, which I wanted to try and fill, gave me the freedom to be able to launch something like this, and you know, supported me in every way that they could,” Mayers said.

Jean Muhammad, the chairwoman of Hampton University’s computer science department, said the department doesn’t want to take credit for any of Mayers’ success.

“Now that’s a teacher’s dream,” Muhammad said. “Because that means that he really is taking the concepts and going forward with those concepts and creating something on his own. Now, that is a computer scientist.”

The app will start off at Hampton University, but Mayers said JoinMi has the ability to expand to other colleges with a few edits.

“I know a lot of experiences from people where these little things, these little tasks, start to add up no matter what it could be,” Mayers said. “And you have a network right in front of you, of your whole school community, which you should be family with. But the truth is, it’s not as easy as it seems to be able to connect with that community if you have no exact platform to do it, especially for a specialized task.

“If you’re able to go through JoinMi, I do think that people will feel more comfortable in their own community, make connections more than they ever have before and I think the app can electrify campuses nationwide.”

Abby Church, abchurch@dailypress.com, @abbschurch

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