What is Hacks for Humanity, and what makes it unique?

Unlike many such hacking events, Hacks for Humanity invites participants from a wide skillset, even those who have no previous “hacking” experience. We welcome artists, coders, app makers, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, humanists, creatives, and generalists; indeed everyone in between from high school to the professional retirement.

Hosted by Project Humanities at Arizona State University, Hacks for Humanity–a 3-day competitive online hacking event for the social good–is different in these ways:

  • Targets not just coders but rather to coders, non-coders, and everyone in between.
  • Involves both communities inside and beyond Arizona State University and brings together individuals across professions, disciplines, generations, and around the globe.
  • Innovates products that connect with or embody at least 3 of these 7 principles project Humanities deems Humanity 101: compassion, empathy, respect, integrity, forgiveness, self-reflection, and kindness.
  • Features 3 thematic tracks under the umbrella of Humanity 101. This year the three tracks are Aging, Safety, and Justice.

Who can attend?

  • Adults of all ages
  • High school juniors and seniors (16 years of age or older) with parent/guardian permission
  • Anyone interested in creating a solution that benefits the social good
  • Anyone who wants to serve as a mentor in 2-hour blocks who can support content and practice
  • Anyone who wants to serve as a volunteer to assist with the event logistics 
  • Anyone from around the world
  • Everyone: students, non-students, faculty, staff, professionals, administrators, and more

What are the benefits of participating in this online hacking event?

  • Builds community
  • Demonstrates “disruptive innovation” in a quick burst of creativity and innovation
  • Demonstrates the power of collaboration and diversity
  • Demonstrates the rewards of diverse perspectives
  • Teaches participants as they compete and innovate
  • Connects technology and product innovation with humanity and quality of life
  • Connects innovation and technology with entrepreneurship and business
  • Establishes a foundation for other such competitions and professional networking
  • It’s fun!

What is the impact of Hacks for Humanity?

  • sparks inspiration for action
  • provides resources and mentors during and after the event
  • creates a network among other individuals and organizations advocating for societal change
  • builds friendships, mentorships, and networks 

As the legacy of Hacks for Humanity continues to unfold, our impact increases through robust strategic partnerships with supporting agencies and organizations that share our common goal of doing social good, one person at a time.

How does Hacks for Humanity work logistically?

  • Individuals register online as a participant, volunteer, or mentor, and self-identify with one of the designated expertise areas (business, design, humanist, engineering, generalist, etc.). 
  • On the evening of the event commencement, attendees will sign in to Zoom via the link emailed to them by event coordinators.
  • Participants will be randomly assigned to a team based on a diverse set of expertise areas. Teams consist of 3-5 members. No pre-assembled teams allowed. A goal of this hacking event is to get people to work across the lines of the every day and the familiar. In other words, we want teams to mix and match rather than teams of all graduate students, all undergraduates, all community members, all males, all from a single school, etc.
  • When teams are formed, the hacking begins with guidelines and milestones provided by the event coordinators.
  • All team members must be an active participant throughout the event in order to be eligible to receive prizes.
  • Teams are required to attend event plenaries and must send at least one team member to attend each workshop. 
  • The hacking event ends with each team pitching its product and judges determining the top teams for awards and prizes.

Who owns the team product/idea?

  • The team producing owns the product/idea produced and the IP. We suggest sharing within your teams and making code open source but this is not a requirement for event participation.

Are there prizes for participants?

  • Cash prizes (exact amounts to be announced) are distributed to each member of the top teams

About the AWS Opportunity

Are students/participants expected to enroll in/complete AWS certification programs before the event?

No, students/participants are not required to enroll for any Certifications prior to the event. However, we recommend that participants complete certain AWS Educate training modules as they will be beneficial for this hacking event. For example, Cloud Computing 101, Alexa Badge or IoT Badge. Additionally, in order to give all students/participants access to free AWS credits and online training, students/participants will need to set up their AWS Educate accounts prior to this event; especially non-ASU students as their email address is needed to set up their Starter Account.

Will AWS Educate provide any kind of special training for our participants? 

AWS Educate consists of numerous self-paced training modules that participants can utilize to ramp up their AWS skills.

Since the AWS white papers are open source, are you providing access to any other paid training programs?

The AWS Educate Starter Accounts for students/participants will give them access to both Career Path online training modules (each approximately 20-50 hrs of content) and shorter Student Badge Paths (each approximately have 5-15hrs of content). Participants will also be granted free AWS Credits so that they can get familiar with the technology they learn via AWS Educate.

Is this opportunity just for participants with a Computer Science background?

Computer Science background is not required for any of these training modules. They are designed to be self-paced with a combination of videos, papers, labs, and quizzes to assess participant learning.

Will this certification be achievable/of value for a person with no computer science background?

Cloud Computing is ubiquitous in almost all industries nowadays. Even if you don’t have a Computer Science Background, understanding these concepts will make the participants more innovative thinkers and problem-solvers.

Will the student/participant enrolled for the AWS Educate programs be given any kind of discount for the certification exams?

We’re working with internal teams to get more information about this topic.