New Mobile App Streamlines 2019 Opening of School

For this year’s Opening of School (OOS), the Andover community was invited to download Andover Event Guides, a mobile app that displays a full calendar of relevant OOS events. The app, developed over the course of the last few years, marks a departure from the former PDF-based system for OOS.

Paul Murphy ’84, Instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, was a member of the team that developed the app using a platform called Guidebook. Murphy explained that the initial motivation for the app was to enhance the community’s navigation of OOS.

“In this day of information, having a static document made no sense. It felt like it was something that we should have done a long time ago, and I think the effect has been really good. I think people have appreciated having it on their phones because that’s what everyone has these days for the most part… And I think it sends a message about the school’s needing to and wanting to be better at communicating with its thousands of people, basically, for the Opening of School,” said Murphy.

In addition to a detailed schedule of campus events, the app provides access to information on dining, orientation, weather, public safety, and more. The app also displays an interactive map, which new students, including new Upper Amy Jiang ’21, used to navigate campus during orientation.

“I mostly used the Andover app during orientation to find my way around campus because I didn’t know my way around. I could also find the names of buildings because I knew where the math building was, but I didn’t know it was called Morse Hall. It was also very convenient that it was just on my phone because I didn’t bring anything but my phone some days, so it was just in my pocket the entire day,” said Jiang.

Elyse Goncalves ’23 also used the app to familiarize herself with campus. For Goncalves, the app provided a sense of direction during her first few days on campus.

“[The app] was helpful because I get lost really easily, so it was helpful to know where stuff was. I think I really appreciated when on the first day of orientation, I had no clue what I was doing, and it was nice to just look back at it and review it and just make sure that I knew where I was going. I didn’t get lost, and I knew what group I was going to be with. It definitely helped me in that way,” said Goncalves.

As a day student, Kris Aziabor ’22 used the schedule function of the app to know when he had obligations on campus. According to Aziabor, this feature of the app helped him stay organized during OOS.

“I thought [the app] was a very helpful tool because it had the schedule feature, where it would basically show all the events that day, and you were able to add it to your schedule and be able to get notifications when you had stuff on campus to do. I think that was very important for me as a day student, knowing when I would have upcoming events, so I definitely thought it was a very helpful tool. If I had it last year, it would have been great, but I’m glad it’s being implemented now,” said Aziabor.

According to Fernando Alonso, Dean of Administration and Finance and Instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, the administration is seeking to expand the app’s capabilities throughout the coming year. In an email to The Phillipian, Alonso outlined future additions to the app.

“Our goal is to expand the guide so it becomes the go to place for all campus constituencies and others to find out the information they need or might want including meals, campus safety, contact info, maps of campus, etc. We are working on developing that throughout this year. We are developing a parallel guidebook for admissions for prospective students and families as well as for alumni,” wrote Alonso.

Murphy noted that the app will also likely serve as an important addition to campus safety protocol due to the app’s capacity for instant communication.

“If we ever had an emergency on campus, suddenly we can message to everyone who has the app, which we’ve been able to do in the past with students and faculty, but then we can start to add parents and guardians and visitors. Unless they have the app, it’s really hard to message some kind of emergency, so there’s that piece of it too, which feels like we’re taking care of the people who are on campus,” said Murphy.