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5C Hackathon on Nov. 15-16 Builds Community, Learning Opportunities and Competition Around Technology Projects

Update (11/26/13)

The 4th Hackathon was a resounding success with 335 students registered and more than 60 teams making it through the night to present their ideas. President David Oxtoby was on hand for the presentations. Some of the award-winning teams, according to the 5C Hackathon co-founder Kim Merrill, were:

Best Advanced Project: Sasha Heinen PZ '15 and Rupert Deese HMC '15 - Asphalt, "a local radio station for your road trips, bike trips, or even mental excursions from the comfort of your couch. Wherever you are, Asphalt streams random songs from SoundCloud to your iPhone by artists from the area."

Best Beginner Project: Men Jeong - LightTime, a "website where students can view any hours that they need for the 5Cs (dining hall hours to faculty office hours). Small and lightweight, this website quickly serves mobile users."

People's Choice: Zakkai Davidson, Jerry Hsiung, Weerapat Pittayakanchit, Sorathan Chaturapruek - all HMC - "Thought you were good at Tetris? Think again... We bring a new human-computer interaction experience by allowing you to use your face to control games! Pan your head and your character will move along with you. Need to make your character shoot or rotate your Tetrimino? Just open your mouth! Your face and your mind will work together in ways that you never expected."

Best Game - William Marks '16, Stephan Kim '16, Alex Cloud '15, Will Curatolo '15 - "A fun 2D game in which the player guides a ninja as she leaps across the screen in zero gravity and throws shurikens at targets. Made with a scalable engine that can easily be modified to introduce acceleration (e.g. gravity), enemies, and different weaponry."

Photos of the event can be found on Facebook.

The 4th semiannual 5C Hackathon—an overnight team coding event where students brainstorm and build websites, apps, games, software and hardware—will kick-off Friday, November 15. The 12-hour event is structured around teaching and learning and is the largest student event at the Claremont Colleges, with nearly 300 students of all experience levels registered to participate this weekend.

“Our goal in founding the 5C Hackathon was to build a more engaged technical community on campus—to get students excited about working on side projects and learning skills outside the classroom, not to discourage students or only reinforce the talents of those already at the top,” says Kim Merrill ’14, a Pomona computer science major who co-founded the event in 2012.

Rather than merely a competition, Hackathon is designed to be a supportive, high-energy learning environment accessible to everyone, Merrill says. Towards that end is Hack Week, a weeklong intensive web development workshop held in the evenings preceding Hackathon to teach students who have little to no coding experience what they need to get started, from HTML/CSS and databases to APIs, Javascript and more.

For Hackathon, there are no restrictions on the type of projects students can build and they work in teams of two to four people. The hacking is jumpstarted by a 3 a.m. two-minute run, fueled by Krispy Kreme doughnuts and food trucks, and rewarded with prizes like Microsoft Surfaces, iPad minis and Jambox speakers. Awards are given for best advanced and beginner projects, best design, best game and a people’s choice award. Past prize-winning projects included an RSS feed visualizer to replace Google Reader and an app that allowed an iPhone to be used as a remote mouse/keyboard combo.

“In the end, for us, it's all about bringing people together, learning something new, and building something to be proud of, whatever that may be for each student,” Merrill says.

Sponsors of 5C Hackathon are Google, Microsoft, Intuit, Nextdoor, Yelp, Atlassian and the Silicon Valley Program.

For more information, visit: www.5chackathon.com.