Hack4Change launches with over 630 DCU students

Ria McGuire

DCU launched its Hack4Change campaign virtually last week, hosted by the business school.

The Hackathon event, which began on March 12th, is a week-long campaign aimed to welcome social innovation among first-year students through climate, equality, mental health and Wellbeing.

Last Friday, 630 students logged onto the virtual event launch.

“Over 100 first-year DCU student teams will work on customised HackTopics they care about, ranging from addiction, post-pandemic social anxiety, discrimination, fast fashion and much, much more,” said Dr Roisin Lyons, co-ordinator of Hack4Change.

The event was initially set up in 2020, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Hackathon campaign was transformed into a virtual event through the platform GatherTown and Zoom.

“We have built an online video game platform on GatherTown where students can meet their teams, go to the beach, or play a game of monopoly with new friends in their free time,” Dr Lyons said

During the week, students attended talks from speakers, received mentoring, and engaged in interactive activities.

In total, the hackathon held 30 speaking events with guests from ESB, Mastercard, CARO, GOAL, Irish Life & Health, Enactus, and Dublin City Council.

In teams, students also developed enterprise videos based on three chosen themes and then pitched their ideas to judges.

“I decided to take part in the event as I believe there is a need for better diversity,” said first-year business student Ciaran Collins. “As my plan is to start a business in the future, I feel it’s important that I ensure diversity and equality within it.”

As a student, I feel it’s important as we are all taking the same courses for similar reasons, so why should some be treated differently for their ethnic backgrounds,” he added.

The Hack4Change is apart of the Learning Innovation for Enterprise (LIFE) programme developed by DCU Business School in 2019.

“This hackathon is a team effort to show our students that we care. I fully believe that the most valuable thing we can provide is support, knowledge, and skills to help them develop their problem-solving and innovative capabilities,” Dr Lyons said.

Collins agreed: “I feel the main thing that I took from the event was that I leave the world a better place than I entered it, and that we shouldn’t focus on our differences but rather our similarities.

“Using what I have learned, I hope to ensure that I can create a diverse environment within a community and business situation,” he said.

Ria Mc Guire

Image Credit: Wikipedia