We love to share our experiences with each other – whether it’s photos on Instagram, status updates on Twitter, or major news on Facebook, these platforms have given college students a personal platform to amplify their voices. A group of students at the University of Pittsburgh seeks to defeat the superficial stereotype of these sharing platforms while encouraging global interaction. OCM got the opportunity to meet Emeka Ukaga, a 20-year-old U of Pitt student who is the COO of the social-activism platform, Glimpse.
The Civil Engineering and Architectural studies major tells us their platform strives “to modernize the methods used to advocate for causes and bring about [potential] change in the world.” By revolutionizing the way people interact with their social media platform, deeper connections can be made with the real world and the news going on at that moment. “Our app provides the tools and framework to do just that…rehumanize the internet.”
When did you realize you wanted to create Glimpse? Did a particular moment inspire you?
“The idea was birthed by my close friend Ethan back in December 2013. He had the idea of a 360-panoramic video platform that would allow users to see all and experience all that their friends could see. As we talked more and built on the idea, it started to shift more from truly experiencing something with someone to truly bonding over social media with others as opposed to trading true interaction for superficial brief exchanges. We’ve continued to innovate on our original idea to get to where we are now.”
What is your ultimate goal for Glimpse? Give us your dream scenario.
“I would one day like to see a platform where I could hop on and get to see what others are doing all over the world. I could check out a festival in Indonesia, watch a 2-minute short summary of the elections in India, see what my friend in Korea has been up to, and then get informed on a new cause that has been gaining momentum in the last week. Beyond just that, I want to be able to have an impact in those events and I want to be able to share in the experiences beyond just liking a post or sharing a video…”
With any ambitious project comes a number of challenges and setbacks (even for the most prepared professionals)! The Glimpse team saw competition arising in the form of other companies, but differentiated themselves from the pack by setting their goals. Raising funds to continue the production of the site is a challenge that Ukaga sees, but has the utmost confidence that it will not be an issue.
Most student entrepreneurs find the balance between school, personal life, and the company a point of concern. Glimpse submitted their ideas to the Big Idea Competition on their campus for additional funds this past spring. “I had a pretty rough spring semester due to pushing us through the Big Idea Competition here at our campus that we eventually won funds from,” Ukaga goes on to explain. Aside from time management, he found running a company and learning in the classroom has gone hand-in-hand to make the young student a professional. “I have learned while working as COO [that] managing tasks, and staying up to date on global events in order to understand future customers/users is important. I have really been able to understand many things in my classes and seminars as a result.”
What advice would you give other college students who wish to make a difference?
“For those that want to help out while still in school, I would suggest taking a hard look at your local surrounding community, Isolating a key problem that is affecting people, and then take measurable steps to help provide a solution to that. Many people think making a difference takes a lot of planning and effort but it could be as simple as tutoring on Fridays or helping clean up the surrounding community.”
Ukaga has wisdom that exceeds expectations for his age. This college student is full of inspiring words and advice for individuals looking to improve their world. By taking an active part in their education outside the classroom, and using personal skills to help communities, any ambitious student can end up like Ukaga. With his future looking bright, we expect great things!
“One thing that is great about our generation that I feel separates us from our parents is the fact that many of us want to do more than make be successful making money. A lot of us are driven towards having a positive impact on the world as well.”
Do you know an amazing student who deserves to be in the “spotlight” and shown off?! Email email@example.com with the information to be featured in next month’s Student Spotlight!
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