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UCSB Graduate Develops an iPhone App for Isla Vista

In response to people going more mobile and the overwhelming pool of information that today is exposed to us when using search engines, one UCSB graduate saw a need to make it easier for local students and businesses to find each other.

David Coccia, 23, who studied cultural anthropology, is behind the application for the Isla Vista community, foremost students.

The Isla Vista app, available for download to iPhones, serves as a directory for members of its community when searching for anything from restaurants and clothing to events, school schedules and carpools.

“They log on to the app, and it’s already done for them,” Coccia said. “People would drive to L.A. every weekend by themselves when there are other kids in Isla Vista taking the Greyhound bus or paying the Santa Barbara Airbus to go down to L.A. I kept finding myself doing that.”

The app, which cost about $1,500 to develop, is designed to eliminate the insecurity within its users that often comes with using Craigslist, Coccia told Noozhawk.

The app was released last Oct. 15 and has today been downloaded more than 2,640 times, according to Coccia. In it, a business’ operation hours, announcements about events and a chat are available. Besides the information concerning the total population in Isla Vista — which in 2010 measured roughly above 23,000 by the U.S. Census Bureau — a big part of the directory is dedicated to scholars, with Santa Barbara City College and UCSB each having their own tag. Students can access their school log-in accounts and schedules, and connect with other peers in case a need of a roommate or textbook comes up.

Coccia said he hopes students realize how they can “make money, and potentially make friends” by using this blog.

“I don’t understand why it wouldn’t be popular,” he said.

He told Noozhawk he hopes to expand and partner with larger educational communities such as the UC system.

“Right now, all they offer, is what, their website?” Coccia said. “It’s weird when it’s so competitive trying to get students to come to your school.”

He said he believes the app is also needed to stop a potential decrease in community awareness.

“We have pretty crazy technology right now. We can FaceTime another person in New York,” Coccia said. “At the same time, with this crazy technology we have, we should use that technology to figure out what’s going on within a two-miles radius.”

Jennifer Call, another UCSB graduate who works as a promoter downtown, said she finds the app helpful when it comes to announcing work-related events.

“It’s definitely in a very very beginning stage,” Call said. “There’s so much more you can do with it.”

She also said the directory to business like restaurants is very helpful when someone is in or around Isla Vista.

“That’s very handy to have right on your fingertip,” Call said. “I wish there was something like that when I was in school.”

Noozhawk intern Gabriella Slabiak can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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