Five years ago Yahoo introduced their 24 hour hack experience to universities around the world. At first it took a while to convince school officials to open their buildings to a bunch of students for 40 hours to build, learn, network, and create cool projects that they wouldn't learn in class. Yahoo HackU events have become hugely successful.
Student Organized Hack Events in Pennsylvania
Change is inevitable; with enough inspiration and passion these changes bring great results. This can be seen in two recent student-led hack events in Pennsylvania. Carnegie Mellon student groups created Tartan Hacks, an event for freshmen and sophomore students to learn new skills, start hacking, and inject the hacking/entrepreneurial spirit in the future class leaders. Mentors from Yahoo, Ideeli, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter gave the individual teams hands-on training with APIs and programming over the 24 hour period.
University of Pennsylvania students joined forces to create Hack the Change to harness students' passion and skills to solve problems around the globe. The event was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's idea of change:
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Hack the Change was supported by Venture F0rth, a shared workspace in Philadelphia, Yahoo, Random Hacks of Kindness, Twilio, and other local organizations. Teams worked tirelessly for 60 hours to create solutions about election monitoring safety, traumatic brain injury, SMS based local search, SMS based warning system for remote villages, and social activism. The Daily Pennsylvanian interviewed the two student orgnizers about the event:
Hack the Change co-organizers College and Engineering junior Pratham Mittal and Wharton junior Casey Rosengren had both competed in and won previous hackathons. They agreed the model would be a good way to serve PennSIDs mission, and decided to bring Hack the Change to Penn. Unlike other hackathons like PennApps, Hack the Changes problem statements focused hackers potential ideas, Mittal said.
This is our way of making the hacks more relevant and impactful, he said. Theyre actually going to be used by the agencies presenting here.
Students at Penn hack for social change - The Daily Pennsylvanian
I've Seen the Future...
I was fortunate enough to represent Yahoo at both of these events and recognized how students will be driving more and more of them in the future. Whether it's a student run hack event on campus or a collaboration with other organizations, such as Random Hacks of Kindness. I've seen the future and it's capably in the hands of talented students.
That's not to say Yahoo isn't going to be a part of it. We've got a full schedule of Yahoo Hack U events around the world. Rather we are looking forward to helping more student groups organize and host their own events. Perhaps Isaac Asimov stated it best:
The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.