Inspired by a student-led think tank, The Daily Universe is launching a mobile application Thursday to feed students information the way they want it.
The app, designed for the iPhone and the Android, is divided into sections according to the needs of the students.
It will highlight news, deals, events, sports, Police Beat and a miscellaneous section which includes a live video feed of the line in the Testing Center.
After attending a conference for College Newspapers Business and Advertising Managers, Trevor Hiltbrand, a senior finance major from Orange County, Calif., said he had a flash of inspiration.
“It was kind of my vision,” he said. “The app is a modern way of connecting students with things they actually care about.”
Returning from the conference, Hiltbrand unleashed his creativity on The Daily Universe Business Manager Ellen Hernandez, who liked his ideas.
“Trevor got really excited,” Hernandez said. “So I just turned him loose to carry out his vision.”
Hernandez’s warm demeanor and openness with students created an environment where they can exercise their creativity. She agreed a mobile app was needed.
“The reason we wanted to go mobile is because students want to get their information in different ways,” she said. “We wanted to create a information center that would enhance their experience at BYU.”
Bethany Pratte, a sophomore from Lindon, is a perfect representation of who The Daily Universe is trying to reach.
“I am obsessed with my phone. I check it like every five seconds,” she said. “If there was an app for The Daily Universe I might actually read it.”
The app will also appease advertisers as they increasingly see value in digital media with college-aged students.
“What’s interesting to me is that the advertisers out there think that Facebook and mobile apps are the new thing,” Hernandez said.
She is optimistic that this will help generate more funds for The Daily Universe.
“We hope we can gain more revenue to help support the lab,” she said. “Everything we sell supports the lab.”
There are still many ideas in the works including a mobile ride board, a university-exclusive market for students to buy and sell goods and an online bulletin board.
“I want it to be its own form of social media. A place you could post parties … I mean BYU-approved parties,” Hiltbrand said. “The good thing is if they sign in with their Route-Y they will be accountable for what happens at their party.”
In keeping up with the technological age the app developers intend to continue updating the app to fit the needs of its users.
“We have a lot of ideas forthcoming,” Hernandez said. “We want it to be something that students want to use, and if they don’t use it, then we have failed.”
Students may download the app for free by searching Daily Universe on the iPhone or Android market.
The Daily Universe is also available on social media venues including Facebook at facebook.com/TheDailyUniverse and on Twitter at @DailyUniverse.