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Swansea Participants
Swansea University Invent for the Planet participants interact with Texas A&M University staff and students through livestream technology. | Image: Swansea University

For 48 hours, college students from over 26 universities around the world joined Texas A&M University virtually to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing the planet today. The top five teams from the first round of Invent for the Planet have been selected by a team of external judges and will compete at Texas A&M on April 23 and 24.

Dragons
The winners of the Swansea University Invent for the Planet team. | Image: Swansea University.

SuperSocial, a team from Swansea University in Wales, created an app that promotes in-person social engagement and activities to prevent loneliness. Users can earn points by meeting new people, creating and participating in events, hanging out in communal areas or by participating in monthly scavenger hunts. These points can later be redeemed for items at local businesses. They will generate income through ads, sponsored events and communal areas or through payment systems. The SuperSocial team includes Josephine Leong, mechanical engineering; Tofazzal Rashid, civil engineering; Sajal Gurung, medical engineering; and Jekaterina Macilevic, chemical engineering.

Q&A

Q: What has been the most memorable experience?

A: Presenting in front of a large audience, with industry leaders present from several multinational companies was a really rewarding experience. As a team we learned how to work under pressure and draw on each other’s skills. I feel like this event has made me a more well-rounded engineer. - Tofazzal Rashid

A: Filming the video. It was so different and funny, and it worked out very well in the end. - Josephine Leong

Q: Did anything come out of the experience that was unexpected?

A: I used this experience, and the skills I demonstrated and gained, in a job interview. It really impressed my interviewers.  - Tofazzal Rashid

Q: Why did you pick your need statement?

A: I picked this need statement as I liked the social aspects and thinking that would be required in order to produce an effective solution. As engineers I think we often overlook social considerations in our engineering interventions. Thinking about social implications to engineering solutions is critical for sustainability. - Tofazzal Rashid 

A: I myself could relate to the need statement. It is a problem I believe most people face sometime in their life, especially with the growth of social media and technology. I was interested in finding an innovative solution to it that can not only make a difference but is also achievable in a short amount of time. - Sajal Gurung

Swansea winners
SuperSocial, the winning team at Swansea University. | Image: Swansea University

Their next plan of action is to present their product at the ‘Big Pitch,’ a competition held at Swansea University. There they will have an opportunity to present in front of business leaders. If they win, they could receive funding, office space and business advisers to help develop the product further.

The final competition

The Invent for the Planet Final Competition is Wednesday, April 24th at 2 p.m. in the ZACH Chevron Rooms. For more information, view our website.