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C21 Launches iPhone App for Students

App Allows Users to Connect and Reflect

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01


The Church in the 21st Century Center (C21) introduced an iPhone application earlier this month, becoming one of the first Boston College campus organizations to launch its own customized app.

"We realized that what we have to do is completely re-energize, remarket, and repackage our resources and deliver them to a younger generation," said Karen Kiefer, associate director of the Church in the 21st Century Center. "The best way to do that is through technology."

The app, downloadable for free, offers a bevy of tools to help connect to C21 and enhance its mission of catalyzing Catholic renewal in the 21st century. It features information on the Center's mission, essays on Catholic issues, Agape Latte videos, and C21 magazine pieces.

The app also contains a prayer map for recommended reflection spots on the Boston College campus and a unique feature called "Pray for Me," which allows users to post prayerful intentions online for the broader community to consider.

"We wanted to make sure we were being true to ourselves as a Center in the app," Kiefer said.

In addition to portions specific to C21's core mission, Kiefer lauded the section of the app titled "Engage!" This technology aggregates data on student formation organizations, allowing for users to research service trips, volunteer opportunities, retreats, and more in one convenient locale.

Computer science major Dario Baldoni, A&S '12, played a key part in engineering the app's "Engage!" module.

"I thought this had the potential to be a great tool for BC students to find out about the vast number of organizations on campus," Baldoni said. "It is definitely something I wish was around when I first arrived on campus."

Baldoni was a member of the larger, multidisciplinary team that began work on the app some eight months ago. C21, in conjunction with its student executive board and BC's IT staff, collaborated to bring the project to fruition by the start of the fall semester.

Kiefer heralded the group's exceptional teamwork, noting that similar iPhone apps are almost always outsourced. She credited students like Baldoni for making the C21 app especially appealing.

"If young people build, more young people will come," Kiefer said. "We tried to put as much information as we could into this to give the students."

While younger generations may be targeted in the Center's development efforts, they aren't the only demographics connecting to C21 with the app. In fact, Kiefer cites one very prominent member of the BC community as an ardent supporter of the app's offerings.

"Fr. Leahy championed this idea from the very beginning," Kiefer said. "He really is so committed to the next generation of Catholics and the opportunity it holds for the Church."

Plans are already in the works for the development of an app optimized for the iPad and, eventually, a counterpart Android Phone app. Kiefer anticipates a reach far wider than the BC campus, though, once the full vision of the app comes to fruition.

"Our center is for the world," Kiefer said. "This is a way to use the gifts of our center to benefit a contemporary audience and inspire future generations."

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