SARAH WUELLNER, Asst. Sports Editor—As students walk around campus, they pass by tons of posters attempting to persuade them to attend an event or join an organization. There is a new poster on campus featuring bright blue and pink colors with a globe. This poster is not for one single event or club, but for all of them at Denison. The app is new to campus and many students may not know what it is intended for. The Denisonian spoke with the creators, Philipp Rajah Moura Srivastava ‘21 and Alex Hughes ‘21, to learn how this app came to be.
“I had the idea freshman year as I had worked on some apps before and I liked being around people. There is beauty in finding experiences.” Srivastava reminisced. “It is a social media app that encourages in-person interaction. You open it to see what there is to do and you actually go and do that. You are not just looking at what other people are doing.” Hughes exclaimed. The app is to get people off of their phones and really enjoying the present instead of watching life happen through a screen.
The app comes with a lot of intentional meaning as Denison students deal with mental health issues. “Traditional social media causes a lot of societal issues that we see; starting with anxiety and depression. It is a different take on getting people together. We thought it would be a healthy alternative to traditional social media.” Srivastava described.
The app launched back in March and has shown a significant increase in users. “The first two weeks went really well, we had 102 users which is about 4% of the student population. After the spike there was a little bit of a decrease and we are now at about 200 users,” Srivastava examined. The main challenge the two have encountered is trying to get students on the app. Srivastava designed the eye catching pink and blue posters to imitate snapchat while Hughes pushed the publicity through PR.
The two seniors have an ambassador program in the works to keep the app running after they graduate. Next year, the two hope to reach six other colleges to get the app out to other small liberal arts colleges and then to larger universities. Next fall, Myles Beale ‘24 will take over heading the Lokel App. He has worked on marketing and design with the Red Frame Lab Start-Up to get the app running. The Lokel App is for the whole student body to use to post events, parties, food, and more.
“We also have small businesses post on the app giving out promotions, so if you want free stuff,” Srivastava described. “We see the app geared to underclassmen, especially freshmen. It could be like a four-year cycle where you need a whole group of classes to go through and then it just becomes a thing through the years. For now we are just trying to get the word out to as many people as possible,” Hughes explained.
In the future, the app will include new features such as group chats. “Parties are something that will get people on the app but the idea is that clubs will be also able to use it as well to post their events. [They can] also have all of their interclub communication within the group chats and squads,” Hughes stated. “We know that the features that we have out now work and we are just seeing how people react to them. It is almost like a big social experiment in some sense. We think once COVID ends we can get more people on the platform,” Srivastava expressed.
The Lokel App is a platform produced by two seniors to get students involved on campus and to unplug themselves from the vast array of social media platforms. The Lokel App is a new alternative to how we plan and attend events at Denison.