Student-designed app helps ease freshmen into SUNY-ESF experience

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Though the ESFgo app is marketed toward new students, it offers some features that even upperclassmen may find convenient.

This semester’s first-year and transfer students at SUNY-ESF have a new tool to help them ease into their college experience: the ESFgo app.

The new app has a tab that is specifically designed for orientation. It includes a full schedule, short biographies of all the orientation leaders and maps of both the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus and University Hill.

The ESFgo app was promoted to new students by placing a flier in their welcome packages, in addition to orientation leaders personally recommending the app to students.

Christopher Ludlam, an orientation leader and vice president of SUNY-ESF’s Undergraduate Student Association, said he has seen many other students use the app and has found it handy himself.

“It allowed us as orientation leaders to provide correct, compressed and convenient information to the incoming students, which has always been difficult,” Ludlam said.

Though the ESFgo app is marketed toward new students, it offers some features that even upperclassmen may find convenient.

The app has a full calendar of events around SUNY-ESF which students can add to their own personal calendar within the app. It also features a list of daily specials at the Trailhead Café and a tab that allows students to report Wi-Fi troubles or broken objects in buildings across campus.

The ESFgo app was created by SUNY-ESF’s student newspaper, The Knothole, the Undergraduate Student Association and another small group of SUNY-ESF students.

The idea for the app came during the fall 2016 semester when students who worked at The Knothole found a way to create a more user friendly app for students than the SUNY-ESF Communications Department’s app.

“To be frank, I don’t know anyone who had the old app, and anyone who knew of it agreed that it was poorly designed,” Ludlam said. “This one is user friendly, provides useful information that is either important to the student body, such as notifications regarding student government elections.”

So far, the ESFgo app has been popular with students. On the first day of orientation this semester, it had more than 4,000 pageviews, Ludlam said.

This fall is the first time the ESFgo app has been fully functioning for an incoming class of students at SUNY-ESF, Ludlam said. He added that he knows dozens of students who use the app on a semiregular basis.

The app is available through Apple’s App Store, Google Play and the Android market.


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