‘What I want is to be part of something that could help people.’
“I’m a junior at Marist College in Upstate New York. While I have been here, I’ve seen a lot of people struggling, especially during COVID-19. The isolation and lack of social contact combined with all the pressures of being in school have been difficult for many people. I’ve seen several kids go home because they couldn’t handle it.
“If you were on a sports team, things were made even more difficult. Students who failed to meet the academic standard were ineligible to compete. I noticed people started getting kicked off teams because they couldn’t handle the balance. There has been a lot of social pressure too, especially for the freshmen, who couldn’t go out or make friends. They were kind of in a jail cell.
“Seeing all this and working with a bit of research, I realized it wasn’t just a Marist problem. It was a global issue amongst colleges around the world, where students were truly struggling to balance certain aspects of life.
Buddi is an app only available for college students and encourages emotional peer-to-peer therapy.
“I started this project to connect students with counselors. But as I interviewed people and gathered data, I realized that people don’t want a counselor, they want a friend, which was how I came up with the concept of Buddi.
“Buddi is an app only available for college students and encourages emotional peer-to-peer therapy. For instance, if you wanted to share with someone ‘I’ve been in your situation before. This is how I handled it,’ or just provide extra comfort.
“Students can communicate with other students from different campuses or filter specific issues, whether it be alcohol or domestic abuse. It’s anonymous as well, and there is a live chat so that people who need help instantly can get it.
“Balancing my workload can be a challenge. I have internships, academics, and I run for the track and field team. So, I have been working at night in order to make time to prioritize the app, which will be launching in mid-October.
“What I want is to be part of something that could help people. The companies that I have interned for are really making a difference, whether it be through volunteering or changing the landscape of medical health. I think that’s what really drives me, it is being able to cater to someone else’s needs.”
Interviewed by Dan Offner