In the context of a hackathon, the word "hack" is used to describe how multiple technologies can be used together in a new and innovative way. Teams of up to four people spend the weekend working on innovative software and hardware solutions to real-world problems. These projects range in platform and application, including elements of web development, mobile applications, drones, and more. However, many times the most important aspect of a hackathon is the community it generates and skills that inexperienced hackers walk away with.
Founded in the fall of 2009, PennApps was the nation's first student-run college hackathon. Since then, it has spurred a revolution in the way engineering students develop and showcase their skills, spawning an entire "league" of hackathons across the nation. In past years, over a thousand students from the U.S. and other countries like Switzerland, Canada, England, and Singapore have converged in Philadelphia for the spring and fall editions of the event for a weekend of creation and discovery. Both beginners and experts alike will work together, learn and compete to become better engineers and work on awesome projects.
At the end of every cycle, we ask the PennApps family if they would like to be a campus ambassador for PennApps. What this entails is spreading the word about PennApps at your local school, college or university. Campus ambassadors are an important part of the PennApps community and receive custom swag and perks at and before the event. Campus ambassadors have been announced.
We don't expect everyone to have been to a hackathon before, in fact, we love first-time hackers having been there ourselves when we started! We're just trying to bring those who most want to really build something awesome and learn something new, and we're striving to continue building a community of diverse and amazing hackers at PennApps. Just show us what you've made, tell us about why you want to be at PennApps.
Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, PennApps has decided to host our first-ever online hackathon.
We will be using Hopin, Slack, and Piazza to host PennApps XXI! Workshops, speakers, ceremonies, and events will take place on Hopin while communication will happen over slack. The mentor piazza will be for hackers to ask questions and connect with mentors who can assist them with questions or their projects. Click HERE to learn more about Hopin.
We definitely are still welcoming corporate sponsors! While this is a new hackathon experience, we are confident that PennApps can provide a meaningful and fulfilling experience for both hackers and sponsors.
This mainly depends on the platform we end up using. If we use a platform like Zoom or Discord, sponsors can set up a room or channel where hackers can come in to hear about the company, ask questions, etc. With PennApps now being online, we will probably have the Zoom “rooms” set up for hackers to come in and out with questions, but set up specific times on the schedule for “info sessions” to avoid sponsors needing to repeat themselves/restart a session. We are definitely open to working with all of our sponsors to create options that suit you and provide the best possible experience!
Typically, our Logistics Committee mails the prizes to each participant after the event. Sponsors have previously sponsored certain hacker routes (creating towards a certain theme) and provided the prizes for the winners in that category. This is something our sponsorship team would be happy to discuss with you!
As with any hackathon, the most important way to foster community is through communication. We are planning to use our online platform to facilitate communication between hackers, time for forming teams, and opportunities to match with mentors. With the online event, we are foreseeing even more connections between hackers, and more meaningful interaction and guidance between hackers and mentors.