HWS Launches Inaugural “Hackathon” – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Launches Inaugural “Hackathon”

Providing students with a unique opportunity to address complex issues through social innovation, the Centennial Center for Leadership (CCL) and the Entrepreneurial Studies minor program will co-sponsor the Colleges’ first “Hackathon” on Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10. The event gives teams of students, faculty and staff 24 hours to generate an idea that addresses or helps solve a local or global issue.

The topic of the Hackathon will be designed with input from the community and revealed on Saturday morning of the event. Teams will have from 1 p.m. on Saturday until 1 p.m. on Sunday to develop their idea, and will then give a pitch presentation of their idea to a panel of judges. One winner will receive $500 and one runner up will receive $200.

“We want to encourage creativity, novelty and viability,” says Associate Director of CCL Amy Forbes. “Social innovation is a powerful tool for today’s change agents and participants will be trained in these cutting-edge concepts.” 

The lineup of events will include planning periods as well as workshops and speakers that help teams enhance their ideas and presentation. Saturday’s schedule will focus on generating ideas with workshops and team planning sessions. Sunday’s events are centered on making a pitch, including a pitch designing workshop and slots for teams to practice giving their pitch before the final presentation period begins at 1 p.m.

The weekend is designed to help participants acquire problem-solving skills necessary to tackle social, environmental and human justice challenges through social innovation, while also opening up networking opportunities for students, faculty and staff to connect with others interested in making a positive impact in the world.

“What I hope all hackathon participants gain from the experience is an enthusiasm for social innovation,” says Visiting Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies Craig Talmage. “What we don’t need is more firms to solve the same problems, what we need is innovation.”

Students, faculty and staff are all invited to participate. Participants can enter in teams of three or four, or as an individual to be placed on a team. Participants can register through Collegiate Link by Friday, March 25.

“By encouraging and facilitating high-paced and interactive collaboration, we are hoping to show students and faculty that social innovation is a viable approach to bettering local and global issues,” says Jessica Bishop ’16, a CCL intern.