Rocket.Build Community: A new global tradition
First, there was Rocket Community Day.
Now, there is Rocket Community month.
On Saturday, April 13th, the very first Rocket.Build Community hackathon began at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. Over 100 students from half-a-dozen local universities locked themselves in for 24 hours to work on projects meant to benefit the Boston-area. With Rocketeers as mentors, in the end a dozen teams made it to final presentations. Their projects were targeted towards several specific categories, with prizes being awarded to each category winner. The categories were:
- Best Housing Hack
- Best Transportation and Mobility Hack
- Best Environmental Hack
- Best Rising Water Impact Hack
- Best Job Portal for Highly Skilled Immigrants Hack
- Best Connecting Community to Hackathons Hack
The hackathon gathered students of all experiences and disciplines from around the state and challenged them to think bigger than they have before. How can technology help plan for the rising costs of living in Boston? Or how can locating and geo-tagging places in nature that need to be cleaned sustain the global #trashtag movement? How can we help qualified immigrants and refugees continue working in their fields of experience?
With just 24 hours, students scattered to all corners of the WIT building to get to work. Throughout that Saturday afternoon, evening, (through the night,) and the next morning, students worked with Rocket mentors on their chosen projects. Many took the “open 24-hours” challenge seriously and camped out on soft furniture. On Sunday morning, one could find sleeping bags, blankets, coffee cups, and even dozing students throughout the space. But by 11:00 a.m., the teams came back with a host of promising solutions to some of these big questions.
The Wentworth Institute Rocket.Build Community hackathon was the first of its kind. In many ways, it was a learning experience for us, too. But it’s experience we’re applying in locations around the world all month long as we continue getting closer to our local communities. With each event, more students are assuming responsibility and making a choice to better their communities with technology, and we’re privileged to help them do that.
While the next Rocket.Build Community hackathon events are getting ready to kick off in Dalian, Denver, Pune and elsewhere (see the full list here,) we were thrilled to hand out some cool prizes, and co-op opportunities to a number of student Builders at WIT! Hopefully the winners will choose to join us this summer and continue their education. Creating the time and space for young innovators to think about world problems will help nurture a new generation of technologist trained to build a better world. The first Rocket.Build Community month has just begun, but we’re already wondering how we can continue this mission indefinitely.