VU in the News

Helping others earns VU Information Technology student team an award

May 9, 2017 / Helping others earns VU Information Technology student team an award

VINCENNES, Ind. - Five Vincennes University students completed a project that is helping people receive disaster aid and, in the process, they earned a second place award in the annual Information Systems Project and Case Competition sponsored by the Miller College of Business at Ball State University.

The students created a project for Helping His Hands (HHH), a short-term mission organization specializing in disaster response. According to the HHH website, its mandate is, “immediate response to regions and people stricken by natural disasters, followed by continual aide in their journey of rebuilding”

Students completing the project as majors in the Information Technology concentration bachelor’s degree program include juniors Nick Benedict, Greenwood; Jake Rumsey, Bedford; Robert Brummett, Washington; and seniors Chris Magna, Greenwood; and Evan Bedwell, Vincennes.

The project application included a website with a volunteer form that allows HHH to collect volunteer data without an internet connection. Each year HHH spends hundreds of dollars paying for an internet connection while recruiting at tradeshows or conferences. The application created by the VU Team will eliminate the need to pay the fees for internet at such events.

“Helping His Hands is excited to partner with these VU students. What they did for us was to create a new volunteer form on our website. In addition to using this form locally, as we plant Helping His Hands in other parts of the country, volunteers will be able to use this same form, which will greatly assist our efforts to help people,” said Scott Shipman, director of Helping His Hands.

The volunteer data collected will be saved off-line and automatically sync once an internet connection becomes available to use without cost. This application will also be utilized when HHH is serving in areas that do not have internet due to a disaster that has taken down communication lines.

In the Ball State competition in April, VU competed against 14 other teams comprised of students also majoring in information technology bachelor’s degree programs.

"I am very proud of the 2nd place finish. This is the first time VU Information Technology bachelor’s degree students have competed in an event like this against other four-year schools,” said Jaci Lederman, chair of the Information Technology Department and assistant professor.

“I was not surprised by the outcome because I know how well rounded our Information Technology degree programs are here at Vincennes University. Being able to help organizations streamline processes and save money is a big part of what Information Technology professionals aspire to do. Helping our community is an added bonus and really shows how much VU students care about the positive impact they can make," Lederman said.

The VU students first became involved with Helping His Hands through the organization, The IT LEAD founded in 2013 under the direction of Lederman. The IT LEAD initiative is committed to providing VU students with an organization that allows collaboration and social gatherings in which information technology topics are a focus. The goals of the group include, but are not limited to:

* Providing students with access to computers and software to explore different types of technology.

* Developing relationships with local companies to gain insight about how information technology plays a role in various industries and supply chains.

* Networking among group members to foster mentoring of students in the VU associate degree program.

* Provide community service opportunities by developing software or other technical services for members of the local community.

Using technology to positively impact and engage with the community is a main initiative of The IT LEAD. Each year, The IT LEAD hosts VU HACK events that demonstrate this initiative. VU HACK events are competitions that allow information technology students to work in teams against the clock to develop a solution for a client. The clients are most often local businesses or organizations needing help with a technology project such as a website, promotional campaigns using social media, or database applications.

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