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This project has also been featured in Wired, Times of Malta, University of Calgary CPSC DepartmentUniversity of Calgary Haskayne School of Business and was formally recognized at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Raza Qazi, Sharon Wang, Eric Eidelberg, Francis Duhan, and myself were selected by our school mentors, Megah Chopra and Dr. Robert Shultz, to represent the University of Calgary at VHacks 2018, the inaugural hackathon at Vatican City. We came together as a multicultural, interfaith team to develop a project for VHacks 2018 in the subtopic of Interfaith Dialogue. Although our team had never worked together before, over the course of 36 hours we came together, with the help of our hackathon Mentors Matt Porter from pray.com and Gege Gatt, to achieve first place for DUO Collegare in our category as well as the La Croix overall project choice. My role as “Designer” on the team was to craft the application to be highly approachable, by ensuring key interactions are easy to access and visually delightful. After conceptualizing mockups of the product with Sketch, the team transformed the wireframes into fully functional web application components. For the project pitch, I developed a living presentation with carefully selected animations and highly contrasting visuals that would be sure to pop out at the judges (below).

DUO stands for “Do Unto Others” and Collegare is “Connect” in Italian. As a multicultural and interfaith team from the University of Calgary, we understand the many of the challenges that individuals and groups face in the realm of Interfaith Dialogue. Our project provides a web platform to connect organizations and volunteers to inspire action, rather than just dialogue. We bring together people from diverse backgrounds to work towards a common goal: social good. From homelessness to natural disasters to mental health, we enable people to connect with one another, regardless of religious affiliation. DUO Collegare provides organizations with a wide-reaching platform to onboard volunteers, regardless of religious background, to join various service-oriented events. For example, an organization can post a meal service event to our platform and engage local volunteers in joining their cause! Part of the vision of our platform is to consolidate the efforts of both large and small organizations in a limited number of events. We believe that a larger impact can be made if various organizations can work together towards a common goal, rather than having a large number of similar events with efforts widely dispersed. As such, only a limited number of similar events may be created by organizations. Using Natural Language Processing, we analyze the event name, description and selected topics to determine whether it is similar to already created events. Once that number is exceeded organizations attempting to create new events of similar nature will be directed to combine their efforts in an existing event. For volunteers, there is a simple account sign-up process, followed by a request for users to share their volunteering interests with us. We use this information to curate a list of local events relevant to their desired volunteering areas, making it easy for them to participate in events right away!

 

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