Student Hackathon Events

Hackathons are intensive events that bring students, faculty, and business communities together to design, create, and innovate, often using data and technologies, for better solutions to business, social, and even nature challenges.

View the Nature+ Hackathon brocure [PDF]

Since our inaugural event Nature+ Hackathon in February 2020, CICL has been hosting student teams competing at regional and national innovation contests. We invite interested students and organizations to join us in our coming hackathon events.

Pre-hackathon Workshop (Feb. 14, 2020)

To familiarize participants with the hackathon challenge and the prototyping techniques, CICL organized a pre-hackathon training workshop two weeks before the Nature+ Hackathon event. The three hour workshop started with a kickoff briefing from Nature Conservancy speakers on event problem statement. Students were introduced the water issues in the Long Island area as an example of climate challenges. Next, CICL Co-director Jane Zhu provided a one-hour training on prototyping techniques and resources for app development. Thirty-five students attended the training and started networking among each other. 

The Nature+ Hackathon Event (Feb. 28, 2020)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Suffolk Center for Innovation and Change Leadership (CICL) and Suffolk MBA Program jointly hosted the Nature+ Hackathon, a full-day app development contest at Suffolk University. The event aimed to use mobile app design concepts to increase awareness and involvement in climate change challenges. After a morning workshop on design thinking and story-telling, six student teams, including Suffolk students from business majors and environmental science major along with students from other universities in the Boston region, competed in cross-disciplinary teams on the Challenge: “Climate and Me”. Teams adopted creative approaches to fast prototyping their innovative concepts. 

Judges from both environmental science (Jen Chin, Michael McCann and Pat Hogan), design (Ben Little and Darryl James) and media (Jeff Freedman) fields challenged and discussed team pitches deliberately. 

The 1st place prize went to the “Eco Journey App” Team (Christina Stetson from MBA, Antwan Webb from MBA & MSBA, Diana Gastelum from Environmental Science, and Aashi Sethi from Environmental Science). The 2nd place prize went to the “Planet Protector” Kid’s Game Team with members from Suffolk business school (Adam Andrade from Marketing major and Yaeeum Lee from Business Administration major), and two external contestants (Anita Yip from Western Governors University and Amy Min from Northeastern University). 

An event evaluation survey was carried out at the end of the Hackathon. The results showed high satisfaction from event participants. Students most appreciated the event’s relevance to the climate change issues and their learning on design thinking and the app-based innovation methods. The winning result spoke volume to the importance of diverse, cross-disciplinary collaboration in the success of design and innovation. All teams concurred that climate actions are too important to be left just to the politicians and large corporations; just like design is too important to be left just to the designers. Technology can be a powerful tool for us to engage climate action. 

We greatly appreciate the Hackathon Workshop speakers Ben Little and Jen Chin whose talk on Design Thinking and vivid examples on using design thinking in conservation innovation inspired our teams. In addition, we also acknowledge our CICL student fellows Sefa Kilic and Lucia Zamuria who contributed valuable talents to planning and promoting the hackathon. The event received sponsorship from the Nature Conservancy, Domino’s Pizza, and Roche Brothers. 

Media Links

Reports on the Nature+ Hackathon event
Twitter Post from the Nature Conservancy


2020 Nature+ Hackathon