Hacking for Humanity

Santa Clara University hosts its third annual hackathon

Santa Clara University’s Association for Computing Machinery chapter will host its third annual hackathon, Hack for Humanity, from Feb. 27 through Feb. 28, 2016. The 24-hour hackathon takes place from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday at the Locatelli Center.

This year’s hackathon, rebranded “Hack for Humanity”, will focus on developing apps to help Catholic Charities improve its programs and services for very-low-income people, and also educational apps for a classroom device developed for schools in impoverished communities in Nepal. The previous two hackathons, “Hack for the Homeless,” focused on developing apps for homeless people.

“I am always impressed by what these students can do in 24 hours,”  said Silvia Figueira, director of Santa Clara University’s Frugal Innovation Hub. “It is incredible to see the energy and excitement in the room when the hackathon starts. Being able to use their computing skills to help an underserved community is an amazing experience for the students.”

About 70 students participated last year’s second annual hackathon. This year, organizers are inviting students from Bay Area schools and expect at least 100 students. The only requirement for the hackathon is that participants are college students. Students with various majors outside of engineering including business, biotech, communications, and graphic design have participated in past hackathons and produced winning results. Participants may work individually or collaborate as teams of up to four people.

"Last year's Hack for the Homeless was a blast. I worked alongside some great people, learning and having fun the whole time,” said Alberto Diaz-Tostado, a senior computer engineering major at Santa Clara University's School of Engineering. “This year's Hack for Humanity is expected to be way bigger and better than before. I'm looking forward to meeting and working with some awesome people."

Students donate the code they write, which is often at a prototype level, to the University, which donates it to the nonprofit interested in deploying it. Judges rate the projects on criteria such as user interface, functionality, and level of difficulty. This year’s prize will be $1000.

For registration information and more details, go to




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