Established January 2020, CITRIS provides technical support and mentoring to student
teams from Merced College and UC Merced. The teams combine coding, database management,
communications, and marketing skills with user experiences to address societal problems.
This semester, the teams are developing solutions for the Merced Food Bank. The best teams will be selected by the Merced Food Bank to continue developing the prototype under the guidance of the The Seed Fund.
Tech for Social Good Merced focuses on addressing the Merced Food Bank’s challenges:
• Poor information environment leads to poor optimization of allocation
• Human error for accounting is high because of low-verification options
• Culturally relevant food systems are limited.
The CITRIS and the Banatao Institute Tech for Social Good Program supports student-led
learning and technology development for healthy, sustainable, connected, and equitable
livelihoods in the United States and abroad.
To achieve its mission, the Tech for Social Good Program provides funding support to undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students, groups, teams or organizations developing hardware, software, events or programs that support healthy, sustainable, connected, and equitable livelihoods in the United States and abroad.
In its first semester, the CITRIS Tech for Social Good program at UC Merced provided students with an opportunity to build tech skills, learn from a entrepreneurial mentor, and help the community partner, the Merced County Food Bank. The competition included 12 student teams.
Merced County Food Bank supplies community organizations, seniors and school programs, and individuals with nearly 5 million pounds of food annually. They described transitioning to a faster, more accurate system of accounting and were interested in providing culturally relevant food. After explaining their needs, executive director Bill Gibbs served as a judge of the final projects at Innovate to Grow online. Chris Medina, co-founder of the Tesserack Institute and UC Merced alum served as a mentor and judge. Please consider helping the Merced County Food Bank serve our community by donating today.
Innovate to Grow is the hallmark showcase event of UC Merced’s School of Engineering programs. On May 15, TSG premiered with an exhibition category.
Tech for social good
Mary Francine Delos Reyes, Adrian Darian, Manjot Singh, UC Merced
First, the team of three UC Merced Computer Science and Engineering majors created a brand new site with updated information about the bank,
a map to help locate food distribution sites to anyone on the website, and a login system for the admins and users.
Second, the team digitalized the storage system by creating a backend database to store inventory information and added a front-end component for easily inputting data. Then, they built a tracker to stay informed when a shipment will reach the food bank or reach a distribution site. Lastly, they created an administrative user interface so all data related to MCFB can be tracked including amount of food, money donated/spent, requests/donation forms, and much more. All these changes were done on one web platform with intuitive and attractive design intended for ease of operation.