Hack Day connects ASU students from different disciplines

Arizona State University students will collaborate across disciplines to envision new digital products as part of Hack Day, organized by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Technology & Innovation.

The Feb. 21 event will bring together approximately 30 ASU students from different disciplines to brainstorm and prototype websites, mobile applications and other digital platforms that improve civic engagement.

Hack Day will take place at the Cronkite School on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Participants will compete in interdisciplinary teams that include students from the College of Technology & Innovation, the Cronkite School, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and other ASU colleges and schools.

Ten teams are expected to participate, creating clickable prototypes for digital platforms during the course of the daylong event, which will be led by Cronkite School's Dan Gillmor, co-founder of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, and Retha Hill, Cronkite School executive director of digital media entrepreneurship and innovation, alongside faculty from the College of Technology & Innovation and other ASU entities.

“Hack Day offers an extraordinary opportunity for ASU students from different disciplines to work together to explore ways to improve civic engagement,” Hill said. “This special event fosters the collaborative spirit of entrepreneurship and serves as a catalyst for innovation.”

Guest speakers will discuss entrepreneurship, the startup process, funding and the role of technology incubators and accelerators in fueling innovation. They include Aram Chávez, lecturer at the College of Technology & Innovation; Tracy Lea, venture manager for the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative at ASU; and Jade Meskill, co-founder of the regional startup accelerator Gangplank, which will also be providing resources and mentorship during the event.

Web hosting company GoDaddy will provide each team with a complimentary website domain and a free month of cPanel hosting. GoDaddy personnel will be on-site to assist and mentor students at Hack Day.

The event will also expose students to the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative at ASU. The program provides funding, mentorship and office space to student entrepreneurs seeking to develop their innovative ideas into viable businesses.

“We hope Hack Day will help students across majors make the connections they need to create successful entrepreneurial ventures and student teams, and also learn the skills they need to build a startup for entry into the Edson Initiative, which awards a total of $200,000 each year in seed funding to Arizona State University’s student entrepreneurs,” said Elizabeth Smith, outreach director for the Cronkite School.