After about two years of trials and tribulations, Fairfield University’s Management Club has finally launched its own app called StudentLeader.
The focus of this app is to provide students who are put in positions of leadership on campus with tips and tricks on how to succeed.
“We wanted [it] to be a Fairfield University app and we wanted to craft our own real estate in cyberspace,” said management professor Lisa Mainiero, Ph.D. “The whole idea behind this is to give back. This isn’t about making money or being profitable, it’s about giving back to our leaders on campus.”
Mainiero, the adviser of Fairfield’s Management Club, came up with the idea two years ago while on sabbatical. When returning to campus, she presented the idea to her students who were very excited at the idea of an app for student leaders on campus. She cites a need to create pedagogy for millennials. Millennials don’t necessarily want to read lengthy pieces of text, but rather quick information because of the new Internet era.
Aside from assisting those students with tips on how to be a good leader, Mainiero hopes that the app can serve as a way to give back to student leaders in the form of scholarships, grants, or some sort of prize. According to Mainiero, this is the reason that the app is priced at $1.99 on the App Store.
“What we want to do is create a social enterprise within the business, because we believe in giving back, and want to make sure that if this ever becomes profitable that we are able to give scholarships to student leaders on campus or student grants,” said Mainiero.
StudentLeader was initially launched on the App Store on February 26, but is not yet available on Google Play. Those involved in the development hope that the app can be downloaded through Google Play by late April or early May. The decision to go with the App Store first was based off the idea that most Fairfield students have iPhones.
The initial content of the app was created by Mainiero, who felt that students needed to be reminded of the lessons she was teaching in class. The app’s features include tabs for leader tips, leader plans, notes to self and leader legacies. Additionally, students can create their own templates to the leader plan tab. These plans can be edited however the person may like. The app also features a customizable calendar that can be synced with a Google calendar or iPhone calendar.
Several management students have become involved in the production of this app, including Amanda Dentico ‘15.
According to Dentico, her engagement in the app has been “as acting as a beta tester and brainstorming with Professor Mainiero during class on what we can add to the app and what we should remove.”
“Now, I am doing an independent with her and I will be creating a Facebook page, Twitter and trying to market the app as much and as best I can to get the word out,” Dentico continued.
According to Mainiero, the students were her consultants in the development of the app, and they worked hand in hand to come up with something that made sense. Her students would tell her what Fairfield students would be interested in and what they would dislike.
Regardless, Mainiero took the major risk of this project, putting down the initial investment of $8,000. Before ultimately becoming profitable and obtaining the ability to give out scholarships and grants, she and the others involved with the app hope to gain back that initial investment.
This is not the first time that Mainiero and the Management Club have taken the initiative to give back to students, as they have been involved in a number of previous projects. They raised funds back when 9/11 happened, and raised over $1,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief. They have also been involved with causes associated with pets and animal welfare. Currently, they are working with programs such as Clam Jam and the student disability office.
For now, though, all those involved in the development of StudentLeader are eager to see what the reception of the app will be after its first few months of availability.
“Progress so far of the app has been tremendous,” said Dentico. “I remember when it was just an idea towards the end of my sophomore year and to see how far it has come already is really impressive to me. If properly managed, marketed, and updated, I think this has the potential to be really big.