Student 2 Student BookShare

“Knowledge from one hand to the next”

Photo of Suvan Paturi
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Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional): [STILL UNDER DEVELOPMENT]

Date Started

May 24th, 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

After completing 11th grade, we organized ourselves for the next school year. During the cleaning process, we had many left-over exam preparation books or supplemental reading. We didn’t have a use for these books anymore, so we had three options: throw the books away, sell them, or donate them. We saw that many of our peers in our grade or lower still needed these books for upcoming exams or classes. Rather than keeping them, we wanted to give our books up, but we realized we had a greater supply of books than the demand amongst our friend group. We decided to give up our books to anyone at our school—not just our close acquaintances. We still didn’t know who wanted these books or what books were in demand. We realized there was no platform where students can exchange/share their books with fellow classmates.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The problem we found was that there was no platform where students can share their used books with peers. Suppose the AP Calculus student plans to take AP Statistics next year and the AP Statistics student wants to take calculus, rather than each student getting another review book it would financially benefit students to simply exchange their books. Students, who can’t regularly access these books, can also benefit from this program.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We want to create a website and mobile app, where students can list books they are willing to give up and other students can request to receive these books. Upon entering the platform, students would register for their given school with their name, email, and/or user id. Students will be able to either list or request books depending on their needs. These listings are visible only to those designated under the specific school, so students would help students within their school. The giving student would drop off the books to a designated teacher or a room. Students would be able to decide where they can pick these books up. The student has the option of receiving the books in their homeroom, the library or administration office under the supervision of school officials. This system of exchange would be revolutionary because book sharing could occur under the safe over watch of the school. Also, the giver and recipient would not require any prior acquaintance for the process to work. We are still developing our concept, but one school of thought is to give the books to teachers, who teach certain subjects, or the library and have them list which books are available.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

For example, let’s say there is a student that is preparing for an AP exam, yet does not have access to study material or practice questions. The kid would be able to use our platform to find a person at the same school who has already taken the class and has books to share. The kid would be able to obtain the book from the person for free without a charge, safely with the observation of school administrators. This would benefit the kid by helping them keep up with their peers and to give them a chance to study for AP exams without spending the money for the exact same book that could be overpriced and eventually thrown out.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

There are book share and sale platforms, but none addresses high school students and provide the mechanism to exchange the most important school item– books. Our project aims to solve a problem that hits close home to many students, and it can be realistically solved with the help of school administrators acting as facilitators. Since we incorporate the school systems to be an integral component of our process, the book exchange can be done anonymously without burdening students. We have a clear path of execution plan and technology competency to make the project a reality.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We have been actively working on the framework of our book-sharing platform. We have collected high school listing data and data about which types of books are in high demand in high schools. We have created data models and started working on the mobile website. Our plan is to present to our school principal for approval in fall 2018. So far, we have shared the concept with few peers, and we received overwhelming enthusiastic approval and feedback.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Our course of action is to think globally while acting locally. After beginning at our high school, we plan to expand to neighboring schools within our school district by requesting support from the county school board. We want to make our platform, a helpful book-sharing site for High school students across the county, state, country and eventually the world—one school at a time, impacting one student at a time reusing one book at a time.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

At present we are in the process of developing the platform as a mobile website using LAMP stack, Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP; the algorithm would be able to process requests efficiently. There is a long way to go, regarding development, but we are confident that we can make it a reality by fall semester and begin setting up outreach. Once a working site is built, our plan is to present it to our school and school district administrators for their support; their participation is an integral and vital part of the plan.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

We want to partner with other clubs within our school district and donate unwanted books to other schools in need. We plan on working with our Computer Science teacher and Coding club to keep continuing to develop, host, and maintain the platform. We would also like to provide the platform code free to use for anyone implementing similar concepts.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

We discovered this opportunity from a Reddit Post, which linked to this challenge.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kyra

Nice job Suvan. As someone who purchased books to prepare for the SAT II last spring (which were about $20 each) and hasn’t touched them since, it would have been a huge money saver if a program like this was running in my school. I think this could be a great program in low income communities. Keep it up!

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