ISU students win Canvas My Campus contest


DeQuan Burnside, junior in software engineering and Mac Liu, sophomore in computer science created a mobile application for Prezi and Tilt’s Canvas My Campus competition. The application, Move, will be released on Iowa State campus in fall 2015. The duo’s goal is to ease the process of finding events through their app.

Tong Lin

Two ISU students have won a free trip to San Francisco and may have provided the entire ISU community with free Prezi EDU PRO for one year. All because of an idea.

Dequan Burnside, junior in software engineering, and Mac Liu, sophomore in pre-computer science, won a global university contest called Canvas My Campus from Prezi and Tilt by creating an app that will make connecting students to activities and organizations in the Ames community easier.

Prezi is a software company and one of the new tools for presenting ideas on a virtual canvas. Tilt is a cloud-founding website. These two companies came together to create an opportunity for students to showcase the uniqueness of the college and university environment around the world. Any students worldwide could participate in this contest for free.

The purpose for this contest was having students come up with ideas to change campus by creating a presentation through Prezi and also raise money for Tilt.

Burnside and Liu found out they won the competition in the second week of January.

“I created a presentation and worked with Mac on the process, and we had to get votes from ISU, Facebook or other social medias,” Burnside said. “We got selected to the top 10 and had an opportunity to raise money for Tilt.”

The team raised the most money in the competition with $1,045. They started the project in late October, spent a month campaigning for votes and had two weeks to raise money.

There were more than 100 presentations and Prezi and Tilt initially selected the top 40. Two teams won — one by public vote and one by staff-selection. Burnside and Liu won the public contribution.

The presentation they made was an app to connect students to the community.

“I kind of found a need of making this app for the students on campus,” Burnside said. “By using this app, students don’t have to go to the actual websites of any activities. You will be able to connect to your favorite organizations and clubs once you fill out the application.”

The pair is still working on developing the app. The majority of the structure is built and they plan to connect organizations to users.

“Our plan is to access the users by July and get feedback from them to help us update it,” Liu said.

The prize for winning this contest is a free 2015 spring trip to the Prezi and Tilt San Francisco offices, where they will have a chance to network and receive advice from tech industry insiders. Also, upon university approval, Iowa State University can receive free Prezi EDU PRO licenses for a duration of one year for their entire population of students, staff and faculty.

Liu said he was really happy when he knew they won the competition.

“It was pretty [exciting] knowing that we are going to San Francisco,” Liu said. “Also, we can actually show the companies about our product through presentations and see how they feel.”

Burnside wasn’t sure the exact date of when the Prezi feature will be available because the ISU IT and Prezi EDU are still working on the matter, but he estimates sometime this spring. Anybody with an extension will have access to the awarded service.