The Civic Tech Hackathon brought together students who are passionate about creating change and interested in the intersections of computer programming and government / public policy.
In early 2023, student teams used technology to solve pertinent issues in society around themes of education, election turnout, and social welfare policy. This is the practice of Public Interest Technology.
Overall Winning Hack
FinLit! equalizes access to financial literacy for students of color, who are statistically less exposed to such knowledge compared to White students. Via app gamification, students begin their financial knowledge journey with foundational lessons and videos and eventually reach personalized lesson and video recommendations.
Women are grossly under-represented in STEM fields and Steminists strives to change that through thoughtful mentorship. Steminists pairs students of the Boston Public School system with Stem-based graduate students and/or professionals via a quiz grounded in a user-curated algorithm.
VoteReal is dedicated to improving youth adult voter turnout through the gamification of current events in local politics. Via an app, users act as a city council member, opine on proposed/passed bills, and get matched to local politicians in line with user perspectives based on bills.
NavigAid connects people in need to food assistance programs. Given that not all who qualify for food assistance receive it, NavigAid aims to increase participation rate in such programs by decreasing societal stigma and establishing a hub of resources.
Check out all hacks from the 2023 Hackathon on our devpost!
About the 2023 Civic Tech Hackathon.
Q: What is a hackathon?
A: A hackathon is an intense working event where programmers come together to work on certain projects or challenges that were orchestrated by the host organization.
Q: Who registered to attend?
A: Undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in the intersections of computer science and government/policy.
Q: Did individuals need a team to register to attend?
A: No. Individuals applied to attend alone and found a team on the day of the event. People can also apply to attend as a team with other members via the registration form.
Q: What programming languages can I use?
A: Any and all programming languages and software were welcome.
Q: What if I don’t know how to code?
A: If you didn’t know how to code, it wasn’t a problem! Our hackathon welcomed those who knew how to code and those who didn’t. We did this to implement the interdisciplinary aspect of Public Interest Technology. We created a space where students of all skilled backgrounds could work together to create Tech For Change!
Q: What did the agenda entail?
A: Visit here to view the 2023 agenda.
Q: Were there prizes?
A: Yes! There was $5,000 in cash prizes and we raffled special prizes (e.g. monitors and drones).
Q: Was there travel assistance?
A: Students who were accepted from outside of Massachusetts received full air-fare coverage.
Q: Where did people sleep?
A: Students were provided a stay in Boston University’s new Computing and Data Science Building.
Q: Was there food?
A: Yes. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner were served.