The COVID-19 pandemic that has raged through society over the past couple of years has often been assessed by reference to short-term needs. While many western governments introduced restrictions on the lives and livelihoods of their citizens, the media narrative was driven by people’s immediate desires to visit a bar, see their loved ones, or travel. But what is often forgotten is the long-term shift the pandemic has provoked in society. For communities such as the student population, recovery to ‘normal’ may last longer than the initial crisis.
@giuseppeantinoro_ believes he has a solution for that community. Antinoro co-founded @hoodaapp; an app launched to the App Store and Google Play in early 2022. Providing a service for students in need of a more ‘normal’ social life, Antinoro’s application boasts some cutting-edge improvements over the likes of Bumble, tailoring its use for a hankering student audience. Underneath it all is a noble aim to tackle the overlooked issue of student loneliness and provide a way out to those stuck in pandemic-like sensibilities.
Currently only rolled out to students at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in the UK, Hooda is simple and effective in its design. Users sign up with a university email address – a vital element of the app’s strategy to avoid fraud – and link their social media profiles comparably to Tinder. Antinoro’s ace in the hole is that his app, unlike Tinder, operates in real-time and allows students to seek out like-minded individuals located in a set radius there and then. Beyond being another measure to prevent catfishing, it catalyzes the process for those looking for immediate human connection.
Hooda’s most honorable aspect is its dedication to solving a real problem. Its founders believe that COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on the development of university social circles, touting alarming statistics on student loneliness. By righting the wrongs of ineffective contemporaries, Hooda could hold many of the answers to a crippling issue for one of society’s most forgotten groups.