IT Innovation Contest

A team-based contest for creative IT solutions

Mobile & Web App for Aiding UCSF's Green and Sustainability Initiatives

Proposal Status: 


UCSF has been a leader amongst the ten UC campuses in building sustainable practices. Often times, faculty, staff or students might notice leaky faucets, used paper being thrown away in the garbage instead of the recycling bin or office lights and computer monitors not being shut off after work and are not sure who to report this problem to. This results in not only wasted resources but higher water and energy costs for the campus.

To address this, the SIS team has purposed developing a web and mobile application that would allow custodians (and anyone) to easily report these problems by typing in the information or scanning the barcode (e.g., QR code) with their mobile devices. The application will also:

  • Allow people to see, update and track the status of the problems. For example if someone noticed that an issue has been fixed but the status hasn’t been updated to fix, they could always go to the app to update the status of the problem to fix.
  • Have a reporting interface to provide helpful information such as a reporting listing all leaky faucets that have been reported but not addressed for more than ten days.
  • Allow users to enter helpful suggestion. For example adding a recycling bin to a room since user always noticed that people using the room end up throw their discarded papers into the garbage can because there is no recycling bin in the room.

Each room or hallway will have bar codes that would contain the information to allow users to easily scan the code with their mobile devices to report the problem (or enter it via typing if they prefer).

The main advantage of this app over a regular ticketing system is that it is built specifically and focused on a particular problem which makes it simpler, quicker and easier for users to report and monitor problems. Corollary to this, it is necessary to keep the user interface and functionality of this app as simple as possible so that even people with limited English, such as some of the contractors who clean our offices can use the app to report a problem such as a leaking faucet.



Within the seven weeks allotted, we intend to have a proof of concept available with the following:

  • Design a working version of the web and mobile app with functional user interface.
  • Barcode for people to scan and instantly report a problem using a mobile app or typing it in via the web version of the app.
  • Reporting interface on the web app to provide helpful reporting information such as listing all leaky faucets that have been reported but not addressed for more than ten days.
  • Ability to allow users to enter helpful suggestions via the web version of the app (and perhaps the mobile version as well if time permits).


Impact on UCSF's mission and/or community:

Sustainability and green initiatives are important policies that the University of California system has increasingly focused on in recent years. UCSF had formed the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability to make UCSF more sustainable and achieving UC Office of the President (UCOP) sustainability goals. Not only is sustainability and green initiatives good for the environment but it is also in the best interest of the UC system as it saves cost and reduces waste which is especially important in this budget conscious era we are in. Building this application would assist with the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability and the sustainability goals of UCOP.


List of team members and their roles:

  • Orlando Leon – Director SIS
  • Lisa Dong - Systems Analyst
  • Alex Siu – Programmer
  • Garland Woo – Programmer
  • Kevin Yeung - Programmer/Systems Coordinator
  • Lawrence Roberts - Programmer/Analyst 


Estimated time devoted by each team member:

TBD - Time estimates will depend on final scope and amount of time that each team member is available.


Would it make sense to tweak a preexisting civic problem reporting platform like FixMyStreet? (,

Interesting concept ... by reducing the barrier to report problems, hopefully they can be addressed in a timely manner. I've seen questionable use of QR codes, but this project will use QR codes to solve a problem.

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