When looking at the narrative surrounding the 2020 pandemic, attention is often drawn to short-term effects. Restrictions on public life provided popular media with constant fuel for the following day’s headlines. But as the post-pandemic years go on, the long-term social effects of the crisis are being felt in groups that are often ignored by the mainstream. Communities who were once orientated around social interaction now find themselves faced with an existential crisis.
@giuseppeantinoro_ is the co-founder of @hoodaapp and believes he has found a way to revert some of the pandemic’s negative effects on student social groups. Hooda launched to the App Store and Google Play in early 2022 and boasts the appeal of a blockbuster lifestyle application, but with a newfound focus on overlooked communities in universities. Antinoro and the app’s other co-founder Ross identified that student social groups were still failing to develop in the natural way they would before COVID-19. Joint in their optimism for the future, the pair saw an opportunity to provide the community with a digital medium fit for post-pandemic life.
A self-described ‘social networking app for students,’ Hooda is currently available to attendees of Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in the UK with a view to expand into institutions across the globe. Users can register using an academic email address and are then able to link their social media accounts to their profile, allowing others members of the community to view them as a potential contact and future friend. Uniquely, Hooda locates students close to the user in real time, one of the app’s many mechanisms against fraudulent behavior. This decisive methodology promises results for those unable to organically form friendships within their university.
With staggering student loneliness statistics driving their mission, Hooda’s co-founders aim to minimize the long-term impact of COVID-19 on university social groups. Students across the globe who often find themselves without a route out of their dormitories may finally have located the ice breaker they were looking for.