UPL Hackathon Brought Students Together With the Theme “Help Your Community”

Students with hats and computers

By Elea Levin

This spring about 70 students divided into 30 teams participated in the 2022 “Hatathon,” a hat-themed, 24-hour hackathon event hosted by the UW-Madison Undergraduate Projects Lab (UPL). The UPL is a space for students with an interest in computer science to connect in person or on Discord to talk about classes, extracurriculars, projects, and events. 

The event, with the theme “Help Your Community,” was open to all experience levels, so beginners were able to participate alongside veteran hackers. 

“The Hatathon was a beginner friendly event, which was intentionally left open ended to allow teams of all skill levels to compete,” said Nick Winans, a Computer Sciences student who works as a coordinator for the UPL and helped organize the event.

Projects were scored by a panel of five judges on a set of criteria including fit to the theme, completeness, creativity, technology, and presentation. The judges awarded first, second, and third place awards. Hackathon participants also voted on a hackers choice award and a series of best hat awards. 

The first place team was BadgerLF, which created a lost and found style web app for Badgers. FoodIO won second place with their web app designed to connect food bank services with individuals who need food delivery due to the pandemic. CrowdCode won third place and the hacker’s choice award for their project that aims to crowdsource black box testing for programming projects. 

Students discuss projectsThe Hatathon organizers also set up several activities, including a pizza dinner, midnight snacks, and yoga, to keep participants awake and engaged. 

The Hatathon was an overall success and many students are looking forward to participating again in the future.

“We’re really happy with every project we saw, and were able to help lots of teams with technical questions and helped teams pick up new technologies,” Winans said. 

All projects from the Hatathon can be viewed online here