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New club Bruin App Builders facilitates networking among students

By Meghan Hodges

Jan. 26, 2015 2:53 a.m.

Will Gu tried out a handful of clubs on campus, but thought they were too impersonal for him. Rather than only coming to meetings to listen to a speaker, the second-year undeclared student wanted to work on developing connections with his peers.

After these experiences, Gu founded Bruin App Builders at the beginning of winter quarter. The club, which is currently made up of 16 students, seeks to provide members networking opportunities beyond working on coding projects.

Gu said Bruin App Builders is intended for both undergraduate and graduate students to learn the skills necessary for the coding, graphic design and development of web or mobile applications.

“The club is meant to be a resource for you,” Gu said. “You are able to pursue the learning that you want with people who share similar aspirations and goals.”

At the club’s weekly meetings, which are held in Dykstra Hall in the apartment of anthropology professor Alexei Vranich, students bond with one another. Rather than pushing students to work on projects, Gu said he hopes people will come to meetings to learn about opportunities to develop technological skills in app development and to work together.

To make the club more personal, Gu meets with new members before each meeting to learn about their individual interests, goals and ideas. Gu then introduces students with similar interests to one another, and they break up and form smaller groups to discuss ideas for apps or projects.

Dakota Adney, a second-year business economics student and co-founder of the club, emphasized social opportunities for students, saying he thinks much of business today revolves around networking. Adney said he thinks the key to completing a successful project or app depends on the relationship that people have with those they are working with.

“One of the problems with technology right now is that so many people are actively seeking co-founders and people to work with, but seeking them based on the project rather than whether they get along with the person,” Gu said.

Ana Heatherman, a second-year neuroscience student and a member of the club, said she joined because she was excited about a club that fostered collaboration among peers.

“Everyone has innovative ideas to share here at UCLA,” Heatherman said. “As a social club, this is a great way to learn about and share these ideas.”

Leaders of Bruin App Builders said they hope to develop a core group of members with specialized skills in coding and design to teach others who might not have as much experience.

Gu said professors, students in other clubs and students working on research who need assistance in web service or design have already approached him for help. Through the club, Gu said he hopes to provide assistance for these people.

“On our campus, there are a lot of different people with different opportunities,” Gu said. “The projects we would want to work on are out there, and all we need to do is decide which we want to work on.”

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Meghan Hodges | Enterprise Production editor
Hodges is the Enterprise Production editor. Hodges was previously a News reporter.
Hodges is the Enterprise Production editor. Hodges was previously a News reporter.
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