The Civic Tech Hackathon brings together students who are passionate about creating change and interested in the intersections of computer programming and government / public policy. This year, student teams will use technology to solve pertinent issues in society around themes of education, election turnout, and government policy rooted in social welfare. This is the practice of Public Interest Technology.
COVID-19 lain bare many inequities within the education system, such as unequal access to resources and inefficient teaching styles that fail to support neurodiverse learners. Here, each student team will develop a hack that addresses one related issue within the education system.
Although voter turnout in the 2020 Presidential Election marked the highest turnout in over a century, many individuals decided not to vote. Some trends show that non-voters felt unheard by and disconnected from their representatives. Here, each student team will develop a hack that addresses an issue within election turnout.
Parents are increasingly struggling to balance finances in an inflation filled economy. The increase in price of diapers, formula, daycare, and more have made it difficult for parents, particularly single parents, to provide for their children. Here, each student team will develop a hack that addresses the financial hardship faced by single parents.
Public Interest Technology (PIT) is a field of technology which prioritizes and incorporates public interest to benefit the public good by considering values that hold us together in society. Public interest places an emphasis on the well being of the society as a whole rather than just an individual or a marginalized group. Furthermore, it is a study of how technology influences societal experiences and aims to create harmony in government and society.
PIT is becoming a more essential and integral part of today’s society. because technology is growing to hold more of a governing force. Thus, it is important that we have experts to impose social and political influence in our technology to ensure that technology further implements the societal values that represent the whole of a society.
Everything you need to know.
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 can register to attend?
A: Undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in the intersections of computer science and government/policy.
Q: Do I need a team to register to attend?
A: No. You can apply to attend as an individual and be put into a team on the day of the event. You can also apply to attend as a team with other members, which you must indicate on the registration form.
Q: What programming languages can I use?
A: Any and all programming languages and software are welcome! Some of our suggestions include but are not limited to Java, Python, Swift, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Github pages, Android Studio, Parse, Fabric, AppCode, and Arduino.
Q: What if I don’t know how to code?
A: If you don’t know how to code, that’s no problem! Our hackathon welcomes those who know how to code and those who don’t. We do this to implement the interdisciplinary aspect of Public Interest Technology. It is our hope to create a space where students of all skilled backgrounds work together to create Tech For Change! Additionally, we offer a number of workshops where all students can engage in programming
Q: How will teams be evaluated?
A: Three preselected judges (TBA) will assess all projects using an established TFC rubric.
Q: Are there prizes?
A: Yes! There are $5,000 in cash prizes and special prizes (TBA).
Q: When is the registration deadline?
A: Registration is open and acceptances will be emailed on a rolling basis.
Q: Is there travel assistance?
A: Students from outside of Massachusetts can submit a request for a travel stipend via the registration form. The deadline to be considered for a travel stipend is Friday, February 3rd.
Q: Where do I sleep?
A: Students will be provided a stay in Boston University’s new Computing and Data Science Building. This is located at 665 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215. Students are required to bring a sleeping bag!
Q: Will there be food?
A: Yes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served in alignment with the TFC Hackathon agenda.