22 October 2019
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) hosted its first annual Hackathon scholarship competition for Tech Day. Both teams and individuals competed to create a new service for campus that is not offered by OIT or to improve an existing service.
Frank Carber won the competition and received a $1000 scholarship provided by OIT and will support OIT’s implementation of his idea. Chancellor Venkat Reddy acknowledged Carber’s project at the award ceremony after the competition.
One of the five judges present at the Hackathon was the director of operations at OIT, Greg Williams.
“We looked at the ‘wow factor’ of it,” said Williams about Carber’s project. “How big of an impact is this gonna be? How realistic it is? Who is this going to be affecting?”
Williams said that the point of the Hackathon was to implement something that could benefit the campus moving forward and benefit students in particular.
For the UCCS Hackathon, I created a program called “Find Your Tribe” to reduce the difficulty of finding clubs and increase student engagement on campus. During the Hackathon, I created a website and program that matches students with clubs based on their academic interests, time commitment, and what they want to get out of a club. On the webpage students answer a short list of questions and are paired with clubs that match their desired criteria. I had this idea while listening to the podcast “Happiness Lab” with Laurie Santos and learning about the growing isolation among students and general difficulty people have finding meaningful connection to their peers. I wanted to do something that would be a small contribution to this issue and make it easier for students to get connected. Every student knows how overwhelming it is to be inundated with fliers, emails and social media posts trying to grab your attention and membership. It can be hard for students to sort through the seemingly endless amount of opportunities available on campus. Even the most engaged students partake in a process of trial and error when seeking out club attendance. I am hoping that my hack can alleviate some of that stress.
I am excited to be working with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to improve this program and have it used by actual students. With the resources of OIT I am hoping to also expand this program to pair faculty with relevant committees and opportunities on campus that they might otherwise miss and pair students and staff with relevant on-campus research opportunities.
Every other student who participated had something amazing to show at the end of the Hackathon, so I feel honored to have had my hack selected by OIT.