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Mather Pilots App Designed to Connect House Residents

Two people walk through the Mather courtyard on Wednesday afternoon.
Two people walk through the Mather courtyard on Wednesday afternoon. By Pei Chao Zhuo
By Sydnie M. Cobb, Crimson Staff Writer

Meet Mather, an app designed to connect Mather House residents, launched this past week in conjunction with several house-wide events to celebrate the app’s release.

The week consisted of both a "speed friending" and a coffee-and-conversation event to encourage Mather students to forge new friendships with each other. Since its release last week, Meet Mather has attracted more than 100 users.

David Jud, a tutor in Mather House, first had the idea to create the Meet Mather app as a final project for Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science,” a class he took as a Ph.D. student. After finishing the course, Jud developed the Meet Mather app with the assistance of Mather student Thomas J. Wagg ’20 and Harvard University Information Technology over the course of a year and a half.

Jud said the inspiration for the app stemmed from a struggle shared between both Mather students and tutors to remember each other’s names.

“We have 400 students in the house, and even the best tutors only know 50-60 names,” Jud said. “Also, students said over and over again that they had seen this and that person in the dining hall, but thought it would be awkward to introduce themselves. I thought it would be a lot less awkward if they knew each other’s names.”

The app is comprised of a photo directory of all Matherites and games designed to help users learn each other’s names. Users earn points by matching residents’ names to their photos. The points are then tallied to rank Mather residents on a leaderboard.

In addition, each Meet Mather profile includes up to three fun fact questions, a list of their current classes, class year, and concentration information to allow students to make connections over shared interests.

Mather House Resident Dean Luke A. Leafgren said he believes Meet Mather will help to strengthen the house’s community.

“Meet Mather is one way to try to help students match faces with names and learn a few things about their neighbors, with the goal of making it easier to strike up a conversation and feel at home in this space.”

Wagg said that students should join the app as an avenue of meeting interesting people that populate campus.

“As a senior, I look around my dining hall and think, ‘I have no absolute idea who most of these people are, but these are some of the most interesting people in the world,’” Wagg said. “The Meet Mather app is the perfect way to find and connect with these people.”

—Staff writer Sydnie M. Cobb can be reached at sydnie.cobb@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @cobbsydnie.

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