When life throws you problems, an app can probably solve them.
Arshene Baigvand, a senior corporate finance major, worked with a team of computing students to develop and launch Pick Up & Play for Android and Apple devices. The app solves one of the great conundrums faced by active college students at ETSU – when and where can I play a pickup game?
Pick Up & Play is the answer. The app contains a map of all the recreational areas available on campus. All a user has to do is sign up, and create or join a scheduled game.
The idea for Pick Up & Play was born from Baigvand’s recreation frustrations. He enjoys playing pickup soccer and basketball games several times a week, but found it increasingly difficult to arrange games. Even while studying abroad in Thailand, Baigvand encountered communication barriers and didn’t know where pickup games were played.
“It’s a fragmented system right now,” Baigvand says. “You’ve got people going through Facebook, text and email to set up a game. It’s supposed to be something you do for fun, not something that you have to spend hours setting up and going back and forth with people. I feel like a lot of people encounter this problem, but don’t know there can be a better way.”
Once Baigvand returned from studying abroad, he realized that an app could solve the pickup game scheduling and communication issues he had encountered at ETSU and across the globe in Thailand. He became determined to develop Pick Up & Play and to take advantage of opportunities to get involved on campus.
“Studying abroad changed the way I think and caused me to look further outside the box than I did before,” Baigvand said. “When I came back, I felt challenged to do something more. I realized college doesn’t have to just be about getting a good GPA. I took my involvement to the next level.”
Baigvand stuck to his promise and became a senator in the Student Government Association and a study abroad ambassador, joined the International Buccaneer Buddies organization and was selected to join the honorary service organization President’s Pride. He also developed a business plan and presented the idea for Pick Up & Play to a panel of judges at ETSU’s innovation and entrepreneurship competition, iBucs (Innovative Buccaneers) in April. Baigvand took home first place and a $5,000 cash prize to go toward further development of Pick Up & Play.
“Winning was great, but what was even better was that it gave me the opportunity to meet Caleb and Dakota,” Baigvand said.
Caleb Mitcler, a senior information systems major who took third place in the competition for his app, Picasong, sent Baigvand a congratulatory Facebook message and then offered to help develop the app. Mitcler then reached out to another fellow iBucs competitor and classmate, Dakota Cowell, a junior information technology major who agreed to help with the graphics and build the IOS version of the app.
“I’m not a computer science major, so this would have been a lot tougher for me to try to go out and do on my own,” Baigvand said.
Even though summer was quickly approaching, Pick Up & Play gained momentum. John Hardy, a senior information technology major and high school classmate of Baigvand, also joined the app development team to tackle networking needs. The team used a collaboration chat platform called Slack to create both versions of the app remotely while living in various locations over the summer.
“Each time we meet, they come up with something I never thought of, and it’s beautiful,” Baigvand said. “There’s a lot of great things that come from that kind of environment. We have disagreements, but I think that leads to growth and a better product.”
When Baigvand moved from Oak Ridge to attend ETSU, he found a group of people who arranged and played a lot of pickup games together, but he admits that not everyone is so lucky.
“We want to make it easier for people to connect and break down the barriers that keep them from going outside and playing,” Baigvand said. “There’s more to Pick Up & Play than just the game itself. You get to connect with people - that’s the real point.”
Baigvand will graduate in December and said working to develop the app with a team of people, each with diverse skill sets, provided him with valuable experience he plans to use in the field of market strategy. Plus, he hopes the launch of Pick Up & Play inspires other students to pursue their problem-solving ideas.
“I want to see more students creating,” Baigvand said. “I hope that by me doing this
maybe other students will look at Pick Up & Play and say, ‘I have an idea; if he can
do it, I can do it.’”Currently, Pick Up & Play allows users to join and schedule pickup
games on campus for six sports – basketball, disc golf, soccer, tennis, Ultimate Frisbee
and volleyball. Baigvand and the app team look to expand this list as Pick Up & Play
gains more users. They would also like to introduce the app to other college campuses
and use it to help control the overuse of recreation fields.
To download the Pick Up & Play app, visit https://pickupandplayapp.com/ or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.