By: Hailey Temple

School of Information Studies (iSchool) students Ross Lazerowitz, a sophomore, and Ryan St. Pierre, a senior, won the JP Morgan Chase & Co. Code for Good Challenge held in New York City last weekend.

The Code for Good Challenge brought together over 100 students who are studying technology at colleges across the nation to develop solutions for nonprofit organizations. Teams were given 27 hours to create a technological solution for one of three organizations present at the event.

Team “Zero Day,” comprised of Lazerowitz, St. Pierre, Austin Williams (L.C. Smith College of Engineering), and Carter Yagemann (L.C. Smith,) chose to work with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that organizes military veterans to help with disaster relief after natural disasters and other events. They challenged teams to create a way for volunteers and administrators to track tools borrowed by members.

“Team Rubicon was having trouble with losing tools or having them returned but damaged. After a disaster like Hurricane Sandy, we wanted to create something that would help people right away,” said Lazerowitz.

After two days of planning, consulting, and coding, Team “Zero Day” presented a mobile and web solution that allows Team Rubicon staff to checkout, report, and track tools in real-time. Using QR codes placed on the tools, staff can checkout and track tools used at various locations using a mobile-based API platform. Staff can also use a web-based platform to view damage reports and see what tools users have requested.

“This was a cool challenge because it was tough to build an interactive app in one day,” said Lazerowitz. “We wanted to make sure the app was available and easy to use to allow transparency for Team Rubicon.”

After two rounds of judging against 16 teams, Team “Zero Day” was announced as the winner of the contest. The team’s winnings include free iPads and the possibility for Team Rubicon to continue building upon their solution to create a complete platform.

For Lazerowitz, the JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s Code for Good Challenge was a great way to use his experience with technology for a greater cause. “It was to work with JP Morgan Chase mentors and get a feel for the culture of the technology community. Technology for social good has become integral part of the industry and it was great to see that connection.”