Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis


New Media


Jon Ippolito, Samantha Jones

Committee Members

Joline Blais, Aaron Boothroyd, Michael Scott

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


COVID-19 affected schools and universities nationwide in 2020 and is still an ongoing threat to public safety. With many institutions converting to remote learning and distanced campuses, students and faculty face many challenges. The social climate and issues facing students and faculty is leading to stress, low morale, and overall poor moods. Universities are trying to accommodate as best as possible but what they do is not always enough. A sense of community surrounding schools can be damaged by the processes of social distancing and working from home. Students need a way to communicate what they believe to be important for universities to address, as well as a way to come together to address the issues themselves.

Rift is a project aimed towards bridging the gap between college issues and their solutions. While only currently offered on iOS devices, Rift can be downloaded and used by any person with a University of Maine email address. The app is broken into three sections: a community thoughts tab, an events page, and a live map. In each section, users can view and explore their peers’ posts, events, and track where such things are happening. By creating a digital and mobile social space for students and faculty alike to voice their concerns and create events to fix such issues, it enables the act of positive change.