The Associated Students Office of the Student Advocate General and a group of engineering students at UC Santa Barbara have joined forces in revitalizing a functioning mobile and web application. GoGaucho intends to be a “one-stop-shop” for all UCSB student engagement.

Courtesy of GoGaucho

The app includes features such as academic schedules, a campus map, dining hall menus and a planned section for posting events. It converged from multiple different groups that had similar ideas, including the Office of the Student Advocate General (S.A.G.) within Associated Students (A.S.) as well as in engineering students working on class projects. GoGaucho is a fully student-run culmination of favorite aspects of each group’s respective ideas.

GoGaucho was founded in 2016 by a group of UCSB engineering students and was revived in Fall Quarter 2022 by fourth-year computer science major and GoGaucho development lead Jackson Cooley.

According to S.A.G. and fourth-year economics and history double major Nathan Lee, the idea began on his end in Spring Quarter 2023 when he had the idea to start a website where students would be able to access a database with all campus events providing free food. Lee said the intention behind this was to advertise community gatherings while providing a resource for students with food security issues.

This idea soon evolved into a broader events-listing network when Lee discovered a former A.S. project on — an online space compiling student events into one centralized location.

Third-year computer science major James Fu said he went through many early project ideas prior to settling into a developer position on the GoGaucho team. He began work on a program called UCSB Coral with a group of fellow engineering students as a class project before breaking off and merging with A.S. through the S.A.G. office.

Fu said this was the most efficient solution as the developing skills of the engineering students integrated well with A.S. resources.

“I originally looked at the, and to be very fair at the time I wasn’t very experienced as a developer at all, and A.S. was already using this framework that was a WordPress plugin,” Fu said. “But the process to basically get the events on the website is still rather difficult because to program this form is some sort of archaic format.”

Fourth-year computer science major Daniel Lu had a similar trajectory to Fu, having also worked on UCSB Coral before joining GoGaucho as a developer.

GoGaucho is a completely student-developed and run app that functions off of the passing of knowledge through generations of students. Fu said their collaborative efforts with A.S. means students can access their course schedule through GoGaucho, however this also means the app cannot be outsourced or monetized.

“The administration gives us privileged, secure access to student information — you have to log in in order for us specifically to see your classes, we don’t see any of that. But there’s a clause in there that says the usage of this [application programming interface] cannot be for profit reasons,” Fu said.

Fu said one of the biggest challenges he faced when programming GoGaucho was figuring out how to use React Native — a framework that allows code for different mobile platforms including Android and iOS. The GoGaucho team emphasizes the passing of coding knowledge to new members, as “iOS development is not a part of UCSB curriculum.”

Another issue the group faced was maintaining a consistent network of developers to keep the app updated and active on the app store, according to Cooley.

“I showed interest because I noticed the app had been removed from the app store a while ago. That’s kind of because they ran out of iOS developers for a time,” Cooley said.

Lee remarked that projects such as the Technology and Media Services Committee formed in A.S. this past year to introduce developer perspectives, coupled with proactive outreach from the GoGaucho team, is the best way to ensure the upkeep of technological features that may benefit the student body.

“The lead, his job is to recruit, train and get generations of UCSB students to maintain and improve on this legacy that started in 2016 [and] continues to provide utility,” Lee said.

Plans for further expansion of GoGaucho include adding a feature to sync class schedules directly with Google Calendar and a feature to create class group chats. The GoGaucho team also hopes to update the web application with the same features as the mobile app.

In regards to competitors such as Shoreline and the mobile app College Sauce, Fu said outdated displays and features make for a “clunky” user experience, clogged by information not necessary in marketing student events.

“[Shoreline] is rather hard to get the word out [on] there because the interface is rather clunky and there’s a bunch of stuff on the front page that say like, office hours and recurring events. I think that necessarily leads to a lot of events sponsored by students being under advertised and funding not being as effective,” Fu said.

Lee said their access to A.S. resources allows GoGaucho to be the most favorable space for students to utilize on campus.

“We have this same access to student information that students have to themselves. They will be able to join the course group chats in the most accurate [way] possible. It wouldn’t have this situation where just a random person signs up to join a group chat and then just pumps spam into it,” Lee said.

Lee expressed his hopes that the GoGaucho team’s work this past year is continued on by the next generations of S.A.G.s and engineering students to provide a student-led tool for the benefit of UCSB students.

“This is not a tool for administrators and this is not a tool for monetization, not a tool for people to make money [by] running ads. It’s been a passion project for students, by students, to improve life of UCSB Gauchos,” Lee said.

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the May 23, 2024 print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Anushka Ghosh Dastidar
Anushka Ghosh Dastidar (she/her) is the Lead News Editor for the 2024-25 school year. Previously, Ghosh Dastidar was the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2023-24 school year and the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. She can be reached at or