Haverford College is hosting its first hackathon later this month.
The Tri-Co Hackathon, open to students of the so-called “Tri-College Consortium” that includes Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, is part of an overall effort to bring technology and hacking to these small Main Line liberal arts schools, which don’t have the support of a sprawling School of Engineering or Computer Science like Philly’s major universities.
Take, for example:
- Haverford’s two-year-old digital workshop, project and event series called Save As: Digital Haverford
- The Tri-Co Digital Humanities program, which explores how technology is affecting the liberal arts
- Haverford’s new makerspace with a 3D printer, 3D scanner, laser cutter and Google Glass
Organized by a mix of student, faculty and staff, the hackathon will have its own unique liberal arts flair: it’s not just for computer science majors, it’s also for students who are interested in the intersection of technology and humanities, said co-organizer Dan Burger-Lenehan of the Haverford College Libraries (as well as the husband of Ticketleap Product Lead Beah Burger-Lenehan).
Thirty-five students have signed up already, said Burger-Lenehan, and he expects about 50 to participate. Registration is heavier on the Haverford and Swarthmore side but organizers hope to get more participation from the women of Bryn Mawr.
The hackathon is also a way to introduce students to the Philly tech scene, Burger-Lenehan said. Haverford is hosting a “Startup Night” the Thursday before the hackathon where entrepreneurs and VCs like Cloudmine CEO Brendan McCorkle and MissionOG managing partner Drew Kese will speak.
Is it a sign of the Philly tech scene’s growth that liberal arts schools outside of Philadelphia interested in connecting with local startups? Maybe. But it’s undoubtedly a good move for the tech scene to reach out to a new, young crowd, as many entrepreneurs have said it’s a major problem that college talent is largely oblivious to the local tech movement.