The COVID-19 pandemic period has often been littered with headlines about short-term needs and desires. The introduction of indiscriminate restrictions provided popular media with an endless stockpile of outrage material. But as the post-pandemic years go on, the long-term societal change taking place is the overriding story. Communities who were once orientated around social interaction now find themselves faced with an existential crisis.
The co-founder of @hoodaapp, @giuseppeantinoro_, believes he has found a way to minimize this potentially hazardous shift in social practice. Hooda launched to the App Store and Google Play in early 2022 and operates with the prowess of an A-list lifestyle application, but with a newfound focus on the overlooked student community. Antinoro and the app’s other co-founder identified that student social groups were no longer developing naturally in many cases. Together, they saw an opportunity to provide the community with a better alternative to pandemic-influenced life.
Hooda is currently available to students at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in the UK, but has ambitions to expand into institutions across the globe. Users can register using an academic email address and are then able to link their social media accounts to their profile, allowing for transparency and visibility with other members of their community. Uniquely, Hooda allows students to find like-minded individuals located close to them in real time. This decisive methodology promises results for those unable to organically form friendships within their university.
Most notably, Hooda could regenerate the fractured social circles that have been without the means to recover following the pandemic. With staggering student loneliness statistics acting as a call-to-arms, Giuseppe and Ross are motivated to rectify the long-term social impact of COVID-19. Students across the globe who find themselves stuck in their dormitories night after night may finally have found the ice breaker they were looking for.