FIG to debut new version of Go!

If you’re an upperclassman, you probably associate the student computing group FIG with the Go!Boards. If you are an underclassman, you may not even know what the Go!boards are.

FIG, a recursive acronym that stands for “FIG is good,” is working on a number of new projects to boost student technology, said member Casey Falk ’16.

“[FIG] is mainly a group where people can come and express some sort of technological interest,” said Falk. “Our CS department is amazing, you learn a lot of information, abstract stuff, but for applications FIG is really good because it gives you a way to use those skills. We just get in a little circle and all work together.”

In 2003, the group developed Go! website as a way to bring together a number of different Haverford websites and information, like the Dining Center menu and Blackboard. Over time, the original idea grew as individuals on FIG added their own inspirations. The Go! Boards, which date back to 2008, are a somewhat chaotic compilation of Haverford’s calendar, student pictures, the next Blue Buses, and links to Moodle, student publications and other sites. There is also a message board with everything from lost-and-founds to late-night ruminations on life itself.

“Go! right now… there’s a lot of boxes. I don’t really like boxes,” Falk said.

FIG is currently working on Go! version 3.0 which will hopefully be debuted next semester.

“Go! will be advanced, streamlined, very pretty. Right now it’s all in my head, but overall we’re going for a much more simple look,” Falk said. “It’s going to be here’s the information you need, if you want more information, you can get it, but we don’t want to overwhelm.”

FIG has also been working on a mobile “Haverapp.” The prototype is a single page that contains links to sites that Haverford students use frequently, like the Blue Bus schedule and Moodle as well as information on events in Philly. For the Haverapp, FIG redesigned Haverticket and also created a special app for the Health Center, which will hopefully streamline the process of seeing Health Center employees.

FIG contains seven active members, and most projects are directed by their individual whims. One recent suggestion took the group to a Hack-a-thon in Delaware, where FIG members took part in a 24-hour competition against other college teams. Another suggestion was the creation of Robotics Club.

“Several FIG members were like, hey, this web design stuff is cool, but what about hardware? So we split off and formed Robotics club, right after fall break,” Falk said.

In general, though there is a lot of overlap, FIG is responsible for software and the Robotics Club will be responsible for hardware. The new Club will likely make extensive use of the new Makers Room in the INSC, which provides tools and a space for students to make a wide variety of things. One of the highlights of the space is a new 3D printer.

In upcoming months, Robotics wants to make a t-shirt cannon and a shop-bot, which allows users to create wooden designs they want on a computer, and then carves them precisely in a matter of minutes. The new club is also investigating sources of funding for more competitions.

“Technology is growing on campus. As soon as the Haverapp is up and Robotics club is going, there’s going to be a huge technological spurt,” Falk said. “We just have fun with it and learn.”

Correction 12/9 12:55 A.M. : An earlier version of this article said the Go! site was launched in 2008. According to former FIG member Dan Giovannelli ’13, the original Go 1.0 portal debuted in 2003 while the current iteration, Go 2.0,  was launched in 2008.

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