Jan. 12, 2023

UCalgary hackathon welcomes nearly 400 participants from across Canada

Code the Change YYC uses technology to give back to the community
Students get their instructions prior to the start of the recent Code The Change YYC hackathon at UCalgary. Code The Change YYC

When challenged with “coding” a solution to create societal change through innovative projects, students from across Canada went above and beyond.

A two-day hybrid competitive hackathon, Code the Change YYC, saw more than 175 students in-person at the University of Calgary with another 200 online from across the country. The event also saw more than $17,000 in prizes handed out to the winning teams and the charities of their choice.

Hack the Change 2022

It was the third time the competition was hosted by Code the Change YYC and its collaborators.

The formal program began on Nov. 19 with a keynote addresses from Dr. Marina Gavrilova, PhD’99, associate head of research and strategic planning with Ucalgary’s Department of Computer Science, and Code the Change founder Sam King.

The participants were then introduced to the judges, before being given the three prompts they had to work with for the challenge:

  • How can we use technology to provide quality education for populations in need?
  • How can we use technology to reduce inequality within and between countries?
  • How do we promote healthy and sustainable living for general populations?

During the challenge, the students had the opportunity to speak with knowledgeable mentors on all aspects of their idea.

The event also included a career fair, and, in between work periods, students had the opportunity to network with each other and industry professionals from places such as Arcurve Inc., ATB, Benevity, Cisco and UCalgary’s Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking.

Crowning a champion

Many participants worked tirelessly throughout the evening and night, honing their projects and presentations.

By the submission deadline, there were more than 65 unique projects to be judged by the panel, who judged the entries based on effectiveness, creativity, an aesthetically pleasing design, marketability, and, most importantly, whether they displayed an interesting and thoughtful use of technology.

The judges also considered teams who excelled in specific categories, including user experience, external application programming interfaces or datasets, and cloud computing.

The project KNetwork, created by a pair of University of British Columbia students, won first place.

Their initiative sought to make education more accessible and aid in learning offline for populations with low access to the internet.

Code the Change YYC was supported, in part, by the Faculty of Science IDEAS Fund program, which provides financial support for experiential learning activities conducted by Science students, and the Schulich School of Engineering.

To see a full list of sponsors, and learn more about how you can get involved in future events, visit https://www.codethechangeyyc.ca/.

Founded at Stanford University, Code the Change has expanded to campuses across the US and Canada, bringing together computer science students to work with non-profit organizations to create social change.