HackingEDU is inspiring college students to hack their way to a better educational future. The organization’s inaugural Hackathon is coming up on October 23-25th at the San Mateo Event Center in San Francisco and is set to be the largest educational hackathon event in the world, bringing over 1,000 young and ambitious hackers from all over the country together to improve the landscape of higher education, while competing for over $100,000 in prizes.
Their aim: to change the world.
Starting a Movement
The Hackathon is the brainchild of founders Alex Cory, Kirill Satanovsky, and Jackie Chang, who were all part of the Google Summit during the summer of 2014. The summit tasked eleven students from various universities on the west coast to go back to their schools and put on small hacking events there. Cory, Satanovsky, and Chang knew this could be more than just a series of individual, isolated events. They envisioned something bigger, better, and world changing.
They decided to work together with the other ambassadors and put on one large event rather than several small ones, and thus the idea for HackingEDU was born.
Let’s face it, the higher education system in the United States has some flaws. It is slow to adapt to changes that are plainly needed. That’s why Cory, Satanovsky, and Chang banded together to form HackingEDU to organize the Hackathon; they realized they are part of the university system, as all three of them are either students or consult in the higher education environment, and they and others like them have as much right to make a difference as anyone else.
They saw that they and other students are in a unique position to make a direct difference, because they are currently involved in the system. Their motto became, “If not them, then who? If not now, then when?” Now was the time to make a difference as far as they were concerned, which is why the Hackathon was put together so quickly after the Google Summit that inspired it.
What Makes This Hackathon Different from Other, Similar Events Across the Country?
By bringing the brightest minds together from all of the major universities in California and other west coast states and the country, HackingEDU is creating the opportunity for these minds to change higher education for the better through the use of technology. While the Hackathon is geared toward college students and marketed for them, it is actually open for anyone to attend. Any person who has good ideas for how to use technology to improve the higher education system is welcome, which makes it different from other events that are for students only.
Another thing that sets the Hackathon apart is that it is completely free. The founders want passionate people participating, regardless of their financial status. It is unusual for events like these to be free, but HackingEDU’s founders have taken that idea and moved it a step forward, with not only admission being free, but with transportation from schools in California (and flights for a select few from outside the state), and even food being provided to participants at no charge.
The training day that gives participants opportunities to learn new technologies. It also allows participants the opporunity to gain direct experience with the technologies the event sponsors are using. This preparation lets participants be better prepared to demonstrate what they learned at the Hackathon when they present their ideas to leaders in the higher education community.
Hacking into the Future of Higher Education
As far as Cory, Satanovsky, and Chang are concerned, this is just the beginning for the HackingEDU Hackathon. The organization is building a dynamic community of people from all walks of life…students, education professionals and businesses…who are passionate about transforming higher education for the better. These are people who will continue working together into the future to bring their innovative ideas to life and make them a reality for the world of higher education in this country.
If you ask HackingEDU’s founders why growing the Hackathon is so important to them, they aren’t shy about sharing. They know higher education is our nation’s future, and they and a few other enterprising individuals want to make it the best it can be. Hackathon provides the platform for them to transform it in an environment where the best ideas can be incubated and implemented, benefiting generations of university students and instructors.
This article was written by Matt Hunckler from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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