Capstone Students Create Recycling App

Cheyenne Goetz, Megan Franz, and Tiffany Folkes at the 2018 Franke GLI celebration.

 As an out of state student, Cheyenne Goetz was nervous about moving into the dorms and meeting new people her freshman year at the University of Montana. She jumped at the opportunity to join the Franke Global Leadership Initiative Living Learning Community.

Four years later, she and two other girls created a fully functioning app to incentivize recycling on campus as their capstone project for Franke GLI. Capstones, the final phase of the Franke GLI program, give students the opportunity to create and implement some sort of project through interdisciplinary work. Past projects ranged from creating books to teaching classes to producing plays. It is up to the students to pick a narrow focus within a theme and work to address a problem they see.
Goetz had the initial idea to take technology and apply it to problems in science. She said her teammates Megan Franz and Tiffany Folks provided innumerous practical solutions and ideas that shaped the project into an app.
The app, called Treasure Bin, is only available for download on iPhones through the App Store, but the group hopes to eventually expand it to Android devices. Treasure Bin rewards people who recycle on campus by using a system of barcodes and QR codes to award points for everything that is recycled. Currently, the points can be redeemed at Liquid Planet, Taco Sano, Pita Pit, and Bear Bucks.
Folkes did a lot of marketing and outreach for the project to get people aware of app and how it is used.
Franz said that her job focused mainly on reaching out to everyone involved.
“My biggest role was coming up with concepts Cheyenne had to implement,” she said. “Recruiting business was challenging, communicating with people overseas, asking permission to put QR codes on bins, a lot of phone calls and emails that they don’t respond to. It took a lot longer than I was expecting.”
Goetz wrote and debugged all of the code.
“My role was to develop the app and to make sure everything was working and all that. Getting it done in the time frame, I had a couple of marathon weekends,” she said.
Even though they didn’t know each other at the time, all three students joined Franke GLI their freshman year. The draw at the time for them was the study abroad component. Now, they agree that Franke GLI shaped their experience at UM.
“Most of the defining things about college have been directly or indirectly influenced by Franke GLI,” said Goetz, who served as the Resident Assistant on the Franke GLI floor for two years. “This group of students is always the most interesting and driven on campus and [Franke GLI] has kind of been the underlying tone of my collegiate experience.”
Franz had similar views, and added on that she wouldn’t have been able to do a real world project like creating this app through any other program at UM.
For many students, capstone projects represent a rare opportunity in college to create something they are passionate about and can be proud of showing off to the world and to future employers.