Honors Students Create Flint Water App

H2OFLINTBy Miyako Jones
The City of Flint has been experiencing a lead-in-water crisis for over 27 months due to improperly-treated water flowing through city pipes. It has been necessary for residents to filter their water or obtain access to alternate sources such as bottled water. Unfortunately, locating these resources is sometimes not as simple as it ought to be.

Two Computer Science Honors students, Phil Boyd and John Collins, became involved in an outreach project to help Flint residents locate resources related to the water crisis at the request of Dr. Mark Allison. Phil and John are both members of the UM-Flint chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), which Dr. Allison oversees as faculty advisor. They built an Android app called H2OFlint that assists residents with locating bottled water and water filter pickup locations, recycling locations, and blood testing locations. Icons representing the various types of resources appear on a map of Flint. Tapping an icon lists information about the location such as its name, address, and hours of operation.

The app was designed, developed, and launched in just a few weeks back in February. Both students gained valuable real-world experience and, in the case of Phil, working on the project confirmed his career path as an app developer. John learned “just how important being organized and good coding practices are to a project.”

The water crisis project has since been extended thanks to a $150,000 grant from Google. Phil continues to work on Android development while John intends to create an iOS app.


Honors has moved!

newhonorsuite1Thanks to a wonderful partnership between the Honors Program and the Thompson Library, Honors now has a new home!

The new suite consists of a reception area, manned by our wonderful assistant, Miyako Jones, two offices, a workroom/storage room, and a conference room. We are located inside the Library on the first floor, just left of the stairs and elevator.

There is still a lot of work to do, boxes to be put away, pictures to hang, and furniture to move in, but we are excited to have this new home to call our own.

A big thank you to Bob Houbeck, Becky Waller, the folks in Technical Services who had to put up with our dust, as well as the rest of the librarians and staff. We newhonorsuite2truly appreciate the sacrifices, time, energy, and funding that went into this project.

We would especially like to thank Dan Sherman. Dan is a wonderful person to work with, and made this project painless and fast. We’ve even had some laughs along the way. Thank you Dan, and facilities, for all you do.

Once we are all setup, we hope to host on open house. In the meantime, feel free to stop by and say hello!