Sunday, July 5, 2015

InvolvEdu: Changing the Extracurricular Landscape

The other day I had a great conversation with Nick Alm, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota studying Entrepreneurial Management and Social Justice. For the past few months he has been working on a tech start-up called InvolvEdu. As a former high school principal I was really intrigued by the concept.  InvolvEdu is free web and mobile app for high school and university students that allows them to get credit for what they do outside of class. InvolvEdu can be used by student groups for student outreach and promotion, by students for event discovery and tracking, and by school administrators for student group management.

InvolvEdu regulates a historically unregulated market.  Besides just taking a student’s word for it, there's no real way to know for sure whether or not a student actually attended computer science club, or was an officer in the economics students association. InvolvEdu not only makes it easier for students to find these activities, but it also tracks and validates their involvement in them. In 2014, the University of Minnesota’s annual “Biz Pitch” gave InvolvEdu the “Most Socially Beneficial Business Concept” Award and InvolvEdu was also a semi-finalist in the 2014 Minnesota Cup.

Why InvolvEdu?

Letter grades have been gradually inflating for decades – which is causing the in-class GPA to become much less relevant.  As a result students are turning to student groups and other activities to find new ways to stand out.  By tracking and validating involvement, students are able to export all of their activities into their own, personalized co-curricular transcripts that can be used in college applications and as supplements to resumes for job interviews. One of their goals includes making sure that InvolvEdu is a service that students from any background or socio-economic standing can access and use to further their academic and professional goals.

How does InvolvEdu work?  

InvolvEdu is completely free for both students and groups to use! Students are able to find events that they’re interested in and rsvp straight from their phones. They can also toggle on/off notifications and automatic calendar sync/updating per student groups that they follow.  Student groups are also provided with key data prior to their events – such as rsvp count, demographic information of attendees (year in school, major, etc.), which students are the most active, etc.  Additionally, student activities personnel are given tools to manage everything from group registration, to officer turnover as well as insightful analytics into the health of their activities programs.

What’s next for InvolvEdu?

After a successful small beta with a select group of students and organizations at the University of Minnesota, InvolvEdu has been iterating and developing on a much larger release of their platform.  They have also just recently launched a Kickstarter in order to raise the funds that are needed in order to expedite the development of their v.1 product due out prior to the start of the Fall 2015 semester.  

Please make sure to check out and donate to their Kickstarter campaign so that InvolvEdu can continue on its journey of making it as easy as possible for students to get involved, while also providing them with the platform to showcase their involvement.

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