Student programmers create applications in 24-hour competition
THE SANTA CLARA
May 7, 2015
Santa Clara’s second annual BroncoHack took place this past weekend. The event challenged teams of students to design innovative solutions to problems such as protecting student privacy online and simplifying ticketing for public transportation.
The event, which was organized by Santa Clara’s OMIS Student Network, began at 3 p.m. on Saturday and concluded 24 hours later. The 180 participants hailed from universities all over California, including San Jose State University; University of California, Davis; University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles.
The hackathon’s theme of social justice required each project team to develop their application or service for the purpose of contributing to the solution of a social problem. Lilly Wilhelms, the President of the OMIS Student Network and lead organizer of BroncoHack, said this is a welcome departure from typical hackathons.
“Sometimes it feels like hackathons propagate the idea that you’re only responsible for your technology until the day someone pays you for it,” said Wilhelms. “We want people to realize that their technology can impact the social world around us, and that technology is the driving factor that pushes us forward, while social injustices truly hold us back.”
After the 24-hour competition phase concluded, judges selected the top 10 projects. The group behind each project prepared a short presentation to explain it to the attendees. Then the judges chose a winner and two finalists.
The winning project, dubbed “Privasee,” is a suite of applications that prevents the leakage of sensitive and personally identifiable information of kids from school networks. All three of the top groups were comprised of Santa Clara students.
Other projects sought to create high hidden returns on investment on debt, locate local philanthropy events and optimize the ticketing system on public transportation.
Sophomore Jack Kingsman was the web and back-end developer on SeetiTel, a project that aimed to construct a secure information-sharing platform for developing nations. He says he and his team of sophomores Alex Choulos and Manny Amirtharaj were inspired by the concept that the free distribution of information contributes to the betterment of the human condition.
“Leaking and information sharing in a lot of developing nations is really lacking, and a lot of oppressive situations exist simply because people don’t know about them,” Kingsman said. “I hope … that this project, which is open source and uses a very permissive license, can be a jumping off point for other people to develop on top of it.”
Ryan Rishi and Cole Calhoun, both juniors, created a ticketing application after having poor experiences with public transit in the Bay Area and while studying abroad.
The app consolidates ticketing services from each of the 16 Bay Area transportation agencies.
“I had a great time. I really enjoyed myself and I’m pretty sure everyone else did, too,” Calhoun said. “It’s a reality check to step outside of Santa Clara University and see what everybody else can do.”
Kingsman also said he enjoyed being able to interface with students hailing from different universities during the 24-hour hackathon, which was open to high school, undergraduate and graduate students.
“It was really exciting to be able to work with fellow students and kick ideas back and forth in a fun but also fast-paced environment, where we were just hammering out code as fast as we could,” said Kingsman. “Everybody in general did a fantastic job.”
Contact Collin Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.