HackUConn, a 24-hour hackathon event, will be taking place from 6 p.m. March 8 to 6 p.m. March 9, according to the HackUConn website.
“It is open to all students at the university as well as students outside,” according to Kathy Rocha, managing director of UConn’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Consortium. “The intention is to provide an event that is focused on problem solving. There is always a theme with the hack-a-thon, and that theme is where students come together, they identify problems that are associated with the theme, they identify the one that they are most interested in.”
This year’s HackUConn will be centered around healthcare and technology, according to the HackUConn website.
“We have categories for ideas that they can stop to think about problems that they might be interested in solving,” Rocha said. “We’ve got a broad range of categories that are relevant to the students, that they may have experienced problems themselves or are aware of the problems, and this gives them an opportunity to drill into a specific problem they care about.”
HackUConn provides supplies such as 3D printers, laser cutters and tech mentors to help students create prototypes related to the theme. There are also speakers and workshops organized throughout the event, according to the HackUConn website.
“We try to create a supportive, creative environment for students,” eighth-semester management information systems and psychology double major Britney Reynolds said. “The word ‘hack’ in front of HackUConn kind of deters people to think that only a computer science major, or someone who’s in IT or an engineer can do it but we’ve seen a diversity [of majors] and we do encourage students to form diverse teams to get that perspective as well.”
There will also be prizes and food throughout the event. Students should bring their laptops, chargers and a sleeping bag if they plan to stay the night, according to the HackUConn website.
“It’s a great opportunity to network, to socialize, to meet new people,” Rocha said. “The other part of it is [problem solving] and how you work with teams to come up with a creative solution. That’s relevant whether you want to be an entrepreneur, work for a small business, a large company.”
HackUConn is an opportunity for students to experiment with innovation and technology as they create their own prototypes.
“In the millennial age, a lot of people want to be their own boss so this is like a 24 hour jumpstart to you creating something,” Reynolds said. “You could move on with it, you could not, but you are taking the skills you learned from the event with you onto different experiences in the future.”
HackUConn continues to grow with a record number of registered participants this year, according to Rocha.
“The great thing about it is it is a really safe place to get out of your comfort zone, try something different,” Rocha said. “There’s no downside, there’s no negative implications, it’s just fun.”
EllieAnn Lesko is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can reached via email at email@example.com.