Creativity comes to Fresno State during 36-hour hackathon

Students and staff get ready to start the Hack Fresno Hackathon, a 36-hour long event held at Fresno State North Gym room 118 on April, 27 2018. (Jorge Rodriguez/The Collegian)

HackFresno celebrated its second annual 36-hourlong Hackathon, which aims to develop programs that can solve real-world problems.

The nonstop design and innovation competition was held at Fresno State’s North Gym, Room 118, and started 9 p.m. on April 27, and ended at 10 a.m. on April 29.

Participants competed in five-member teams and worked to create something from themes such as education; health and wellness; environment and agriculture; and social good. Sixty-three percent were first-time hackers, and 60 percent were Fresno State students.

The Hackathon was organized by Fresno State students with the help of Orlando Leon, Fresno State’s chief information officer. Leon, Bob Berry and Michael Wanke were the judges for the event.

During the opening ceremony on April 27, Berry, CEO of DPS Telecom, said that when you’re done with an idea, you have to thrash it and do it again so it would be better. Wanke of Forward Advantage said he was looking forward to seeing what they would come up with.

The hacking started after the opening ceremony. Several workshops were also scheduled throughout the event for participants to learn about new innovative items or techniques used now.

Teams were encouraged to stay all night and remain engaged in their work in order to not lose track and stay on pace to finish on time. There were nap rooms and a dark room available for anyone who needed a break or a nap.

Every member in the winning team that won best Hack was awarded a $150 gift card.

There were also awards for best beginner Hack, which was given an Arduino starter kit for each team member; best Devpost submission got a Google Home Mini for each team member; and best use of hardware was awarded a three-month membership to Root Access Hackerspace for each team member.

“You don’t have to know technology or be a tech person because part of selling a vision or an idea is just being able to give a pitch,” Leon said. “We encourage all types of majors to come out, because you don’t have to build a product. You just have to sell us on an idea.”

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