Tap2Change: Cashless Transactions for Panhandlers; Story-telling Spaces: Fostering Empathy Through Crowdsourcing

Chandrasekaran, Harish, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Groves, James, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Tian, Yuan, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Elliott, Travis, EN-STS Dept, University of Virginia

This thesis covers both the Technical Report of Tap2Change, an application which enables cashless transactions for panhandlers, as well as the STS Report which looks into fostering empathy within a community through the use of storytelling. As students at the University of Virginia we often interact with not only peers and professors, but also Charlottesville locals as we walk up and down the streets of the Corner. Being a high foot-traffic area, many homeless individuals and panhandlers from the Charlottesville area set up signs asking for donations from passersby, practically depending on the kindness of strangers for their next meal or new clothes. Despite the high volume of people passing by on a daily basis, it’s clear to see that these individuals struggle to make a living and get by on scraps. This led me to question why more people, myself included, don’t donate to their cause when most of us have money to spend on frivolous items for ourselves. Is it because we don’t have cash to give? Is it because we are untrusting of where the money will go or what it will be used for? Or is it simply because we are unwilling to give? Through the research conducted in this paper, I aim to identify and develop a solution which can not only improve the financial situation of homeless individuals, but also help to systemically uplift and empower them to break out of cycles of poverty.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
SCOT, empowerment of homeless, cashless transactions, design thinking process, django, docker, third-party API

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Technical Advisor: Yuan Tian, James Groves

STS Advisor: Travis Travis Elliott

Technical Team Members: Rohit Chhatre, Cutter Grathwohl, Caden Moses, Jeffrey Rhoads

Issued Date: