Registration is now open for NIU’s second annual Huskie Hack, a 26-hour contest designed to spark innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship.
The event, which will be held in the Holmes Student Center, will start at noon on Nov. 5, 2016, and finish at 2 p.m. the next day (Nov. 6). Students work throughout the 26 hours of the event. Anyone who needs a rest can snooze in the Center’s atrium, but most participants prefer to stay up all night hacking or partaking in alternative activities such as mini competitions, on-site scavenger hunts, midnight bowling or early morning Zumba/yoga.
Registration is free and open to any college student with a valid ID. Middle and high school students are also welcome, as long as their parents sign consent forms following registration. Food will be provided to all participants.
Coding experience is welcome, but by no means required.
“In the movies, computer hacking is only for extreme tech wizards looking to make mischief,” says Tracy Rogers-Tryba, the event’s coordinator. “But in reality, hacking is a perspective and set of tools for anyone intending to make something awesome––whether it’s an app, a new device or a business plan––in any field, including engineering, health, business, the arts and government.”
After forming teams based on their interests and skill sets, participants will start hacking their ideas into reality, using hardware and software supplied by NIU STEAM Works. Mentors from sponsoring businesses will be on hand to offer teams guidance.
“This gives students a chance to get acquainted with employers who recognize the value and skill sets that innovation and entrepreneurialism demand: critical thinking, the ability to learn from failure, team building and collaboration,” says Rogers-Tryba. “For some participants, the hackathon also becomes an on-the-spot job fair. For others, it’s a chance to learn about all that NIU has to offer for young innovators.”
At the end of the weekend, each team will present a demonstration of its project. Judges from sponsoring businesses and the public will award prizes.
Huskie Hack is sanctioned by Major League Hacking (MLH), the official international student hackathon league focused on mentorship and support for students engaged in computer coding. In addition to winning prizes, participants will be able to earn points that boost their schools’ standings in MLH rankings.
MLH co-founder Jon Gottfried will give a talk exploring the history of hacking and its role in innovation today.
The event is hosted by NIU STEAM Works, with help from Tech Bark, an NIU student organization focused on how computers can be used for creative problem solving.