Hacks for Humanity

Participants in the Hacks for Humanity find innovative ways to relax during the 36-hour creative marathon.

Ahwatukee Professor Neal Lester’s Project Humanities at Arizona State University will host its sixth annual Hacks for Humanity hackathon Oct. 19-20.

 Hacks for Humanity is a 36-hour creativity and innovation event for people of all ages and professions who create technologies that address local and global issues. 

The finished products must embody these seven principles that Project Humanities identifies as Humanity 101: kindness, compassion, integrity, respect, empathy, forgiveness, and self-reflection. 

This year’s tracks are: food, family and finances and anyone can join several hundred people who combine their talents to address issues in these three areas.

“Participation from a diverse group of people in a platform such as Hacks for Humanity creates a paradigm shift in technology development, giving everyday people the power to co-build the ‘next big thing’ that may affect our lives,” said alumnus Pat Pataranitaporn, inaugural Hacks for Humanity participant and team winner and Arizona State University Biology major.

This hackathon, however, is not just for coders and developers or technology geeks and invites entrepreneurs, artists, engineers, designers and others.

Six social work professionals from Turkey, Spain, Greece and India – all part of the Building Bridges Arizona program – will be participating.

This year’s hackathon is also powered by Amazon Web Service for all competing teams. Hackathon sponsors include State Farm, ASU Entrepreneurship + Innovation, ADP, Honeywell, and Amazon Tempe Software Development Centers.

“The momentum from Hacks for Humanity does not stop once the winning team claims their prize,” said Lester. “Hacks for Humanity has generated significant change within the lives of several of our participants. The transformative power of this event has been demonstrated through the continuing success of our 2014 winning team, ARKHumanity.”

That created a system designed to identify specific tweets containing key phrases frequently used by individuals in crisis who risk self-harming, he said, noting it has formed its own nonprofit, HumanityX and “continues to lead the way in improving humanity through creative new technologies.”

The event includes a pitching competition, midnight “silent disco” and pizza party, catered food all weekend, therapy dogs, yoga and meditation, games, raffle prizes and a host of hackathon supporters.

They include Come Rain or Shine Foundation, Lyft, Alamo Draft House, Octane Raceway, Portillo’s Beef, Burgers and Salads, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Symphony, Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy, As You Wish Pottery Painting Place, Glow Putt Mini Golf, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Swingin’ Safari Mini Golf, Puffin West Foundation, Phoenix Rock Gym, Focus Climbing Center, Wild West Paintball and Airsoft Park, Sauce Pizza and Wine, Desert Botanical Garden, Apollo, Original Geno’s Pizza, Silicon Valley Bank, Arizona Informant, American Airlines, Stratum, Union Tempe Apartments, Live Well @ ASU, Phoenix Rising, ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the ASU School of the Future of Innovation in Society.  

The free event will be held at Arizona State University Tempe campus in Stauffer Communications Building B. 

Opportunities to mentor and volunteer are also available. Registration, volunteer and mentor signup and sponsorship inquiries are at hacksforhumanity.io/hacks-for-humanity-2019.

Information: 480-727-7030.

Project Humanities seeks to connect the University and local communities in talking, listening and connecting. 

“We further seek to establish and lead multidisciplinary and inclusive public programming that engages local, national, and international communities in humanities discussions,” Lester said.

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