Students at West Chester U will join a global hackathon backed by Microsoft and Github - Philly


Nov. 27, 2018 12:12 pm

Students at West Chester U will join a global hackathon backed by Microsoft and Github

Hackers in 34 countries will get together at inclusive coding events, four of them happening in Pennsylvania.

There are four Local Hack Day events happening across the state.

(Courtesy photo)

On Saturday, some 6,000 hackers across 34 countries are expected to join a day of hacking during Local Hack Day, a global hackathon event with backing from companies like Microsoft and Github.

Pennsylvania is home to four of the 200-plus hacking events happening on Dec. 1, including South Hills School of Business & Technology, Lehigh University, Penn State Behrend, and Chester County’s West Chester University (WCU).

“I think students should participate in Local Hack Day because it’s a great way to create new projects, make friends, and gain coding experience,” said Jenna Abbott, the president of WCU’s Computer Science Club, in an email. “Hackathons can be intimidating, but Local Hack Day is a starting point. It will be an event that is inclusive to any coder, whether they are a beginner or highly experienced. At the end of the day, we are all here to have fun and make cool projects together.”

(On that note, here’s author Miriam Peskowitz’ guide to surviving your first hackathon.)

Brandon Barker, a sophomore at WCU and VP of the club, said anyone is welcome at the free event, regardless of coding experience, school or age. The global event is organized by student hackathon league Major League Hacking, and the club expects about 100 students to participate.

“We use MLH’s Local Hack Day as a way to celebrate our local tech community and introduce newcomers to it,” Barker said in an email. “Whether you’re a first timer or someone who has been coding since they could use a computer, Local Hack Day will be a create a sense of belonging and discovery for participants.


Barker said participants will walk away with new technology skills, a network of other technologists, and “a place where they can come back to pursue their interests in the future.”

Earlier this year, the university also hosted a 54-hour startup ideation fest, a local iteration of the Startup Weekend brand from Techstars, featuring a cadre of Philly tech and entrepreneurship types among the judges and coaches, including Jedidiah Weller — formerly of WebJunto — and Saxbys founder Nick Bayer.


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