AWS Public Sector Blog

Food insecurity app built by UC Berkeley students wins national app-building competition

Modo Labs Ideathon winners with check

Modo Labs®, an AWS Advanced Technology partner and creator of the no-code app building platform for higher education and enterprises, announced the winner of the 2019 national student Ideathon competition. The national competition concludes a year-long series of app-building Ideathons organized and run by schools across the country.

During these events, students from different academic backgrounds, with no prior coding experience, built their ideas into apps within a 24-hour period using the Modo Campus platform. Apps were reviewed by peers and a panel of judges comprised of local leaders and university administrators.

The Modo Ideathon was developed to encourage students to create apps to address challenges they see and experience on their campus. Due to the Modo no-code app building platform’s intuitive design, students with no previous technical experience could immediately create apps to address the specific needs of their university and also reflect the school’s personal brand. Mobile resources present a platform for students to create solutions that can have an impact on real lives.

More than 240 students from more than 25 majors representing eight schools from across the country created a total of 72 apps during the Ideathon events. Students worked around the clock – for 24 hours straight – to develop apps to address the challenges they identified on their campuses. A review committee selected a national winner from finalists from each institution. The winner of the competition was presented with a national prize of $10,000, courtesy of AWS Educate, during this year’s Kurogo Mobile Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. AWS Educate is Amazon’s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning.

The winning app was developed by University of California, Berkeley students Saahil Chadha, Jago Pang, and Neha Nagabothu. Their app, Bear Appétit, tackles food insecurity by facilitating the anonymous donation of meal swipes from those who have swipes to share to those that need them, and connecting those in need to resources such as the food pantry and food assistance programs.

“Competing was fun and eye-opening. Seeing how I could so quickly develop an app to address a campus need I knew existed was empowering. I came away from the event feeling accomplished because I’d gone from recognizing an issue in the community to creating a solution for it over the course of just two days,” said UC Berkeley winner, Saahil Chadha.

To learn more, request the 7 Steps to Building a Campus App to Tackle Food Insecurity guide. You can also visit the Modo Labs Ideathon site to see app ideas from other participating universities.