The University of Arizona

I'm Free, But Are Ufree?

By Leah Cresswell, University Communications | April 29, 2013

UA student Stephen Ost developed an iPhone application launching this summer that will help answer a never-ending question among students: Are you free?

Ufree is a mobile application that allows social freedom and offers next-generation collaborative scheduling with the swipe of a finger.
Ufree is a mobile application that allows social freedom and offers next-generation collaborative scheduling with the swipe of a finger.
In the beginning, only UA students will have access to Ufree. Eventually access will expand to other Arizona schools and the general public. The overall goal is to make Ufree accessible to anyone, anywhere, who has a smart phone.
In the beginning, only UA students will have access to Ufree. Eventually access will expand to other Arizona schools and the general public. The overall goal is to make Ufree accessible to anyone, anywhere, who has a smart phone.

University of Arizona student Stephen Ost has created Ufree, a smartphone application expected to launch this summer to help busy students find out when their friends are free, in real-time.

The aim: to enable students to more easily connect with their peers when trying to find general social interaction, as well as planning for group assignments and projects while accommodating everyone's schedules.

How does it work? Students input and sync their existing calendars, if they have repeating schedules, so the app will remember and keep track. They also can create their schedule in the app if they don't already have one. Then, when Ufree users open the app, they can immediately see a list of nearby friends who are available.

"I walk through the union and see students sitting alone. You don't have to be alone if you don't want to be anymore," said Davis Bauer, a marketing student in the Eller College of Management and an intern with Ufree.

The app is especially useful for students who are working on group projects or assignments with other people, Bauer said.

At the moment, Ufree is only accessible through iPhones, but eventually Android users also will be able to use the application.

Ufree abides by the slogan "social freedom."

Ost, a major in the UA department of computer science, and the Ufree team intend for the app to go public in July. For now, they are improving quality, adding features, fixing bugs and solving any problems with the application.

Chief executive officer and founder of Ufree, Ost said he first came up with the idea almost three years ago. The Arizona Center for Innovation, a business incubator operated out of the UA Tech Park, helped him along the way, mentoring him through the process.

While in Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, Ost met Will.I.Am, a supporter of young entrepreneurs, who loved the idea Ufree idea and now follows the app via the Ufree Twitter page.

Ufree's internship program involves three UA students who receive college credit for their work. The three internships include a social media relations coordinator, a campus communication liaison and a marketing and public relations coordinator.

By August, the plan is to have 15 to 20 interns. For now, students can apply online or by email for an opportunity to join the team.

Said Ost: "Ufree is not only a mobile application, rather the start of a new lifestyle, which allows you to experience the social freedom you desire."

Contacts

Stephen Ost

UA Department of Computer Science

Stephen@ufreeapp.com