ABOUT GreenHacks

The mounting global environmental crisis will inevitably change the way we think and act. Humans have adopted unsustainable patterns of behavior which threaten our finite planetary resources. We must design new strategies, develop new technologies, and restructure our societal habits in order to take steps towards a more sustainable future.

 

GreenHacks seeks to offer a platform for competitive ideation and creativity to spark innovative and sustainable solution design. Through the hackathon format, we bring together forward-looking students, JHU faculty members, sustainability organizations, and companies into one space for the purposes of interaction and collaboration in order to:

  • Accelerate the conversation regarding innovative sustainable solutions.

  • Connect people at the intersection of different fields including design, software development, business, engineering, science, and policy.

  • Encourage creative-thinking, collaboration, networking, personal development, innovation, and invention.

  • Design and pitch innovative green technologies, business proposals, initiatives, solutions, etc.

2021 Theme:

Sustaining Disruptions

GreenHacks 2021 will take place from April 23-25, 2021 as a virtual multi-day hackathon. We are thrilled to announce that this year's theme will be Sustaining Disruptions! Sustainability is built upon three pillars: the environment, the economy, and society. The year 2020, and now 2021, has presented serious disruptions within each of these pillars: we’ve seen disruptions in our living and working routines, and wake-up calls from changemakers speaking out against injustice, creating unique opportunities for change. That’s why GreenHacks is dedicating this year’s hackathon to embracing disruptions and actively seeking to address the challenges they have highlighted.

 

Within this theme, hackers will design innovative solutions within one of our 3 design tracks, to be announced soon. We hope this theme will highlight the intersectionality of environmentalism and allow students from different backgrounds to come together and share their ideas. Join us in designing disruptive solutions for a more sustainable, equitable future.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

A hackathon is a marathon design event centered around solving a problem. Traditionally, hackathons involve computer scientists and engineers who are there to “hack” software related solutions. Participants work rapidly, are often sleep deprived, in the span of 24 hours or a weekend in order for team members to collaborate on the project.

What is a hackathon?

While a “hackathon” was originally used to refer to a collaborative computer programming event, a Sustainability Hackathon will focus on gathering creative and motivated people from diverse backgrounds to design interesting solutions for sustainable development. Students will form teams in order to address specific sustainability challenges and will be judged on the creativity, feasibility, and impact of their ideas. We emphasize that participants can come from all areas of expertise, and solutions can come in any form ranging from well-thought out business proposals, mobile applications, to hardware prototypes, and so on.

What is a sustainability hackathon?

While a “hackathon” was originally used to refer to a collaborative computer programming event, a Sustainability Hackathon will focus on gathering creative and motivated people from diverse backgrounds to design interesting solutions for sustainable development. Students will form teams in order to address specific sustainability challenges and will be judged on the creativity, feasibility, and impact of their ideas. We emphasize that participants can come from all areas of expertise, and solutions can come in any form ranging from well-thought out business proposals, mobile applications, to hardware prototypes, and so on.

What differentiates GreenHacks from other hackathons?

In our pilot run back in 2019, winners included:

  • Veggify- a project incentivizing JHU student groups to offer plant based foods at events

  • Sustainable Plastics- a project aimed at bioengineering biodegradable plastics

  • Democratizing Data- a project that allows all JHU sustainability and energy usage data to be publicly available in an easy to maneuver format 

 

In our COVID-19 and sustainability intersection virtual hackathon, winners included:

  • Perch- an app that will help universities transition back to campus while optimizing building energy usage as well as making use of smart technologies to help maintain safety and  physical distancing. 

  • CityScape- a mobile app that expands access to greenspaces for urban neighborhoods while also tackling the dangers of overcrowding in Urban Greenscape neighborhoods with a density tracker informed by geolocation data.

  • Plant-Based Diet Revolution- a two-part comprehensive marketing strategy to capitalize on the shortage of meat during this pandemic to bring plant-based meats to the attention of meat eaters while simultaneously working to create a more positive image of alternative meats among 

What have winning proposals been in the past?

GreenHacks is always looking for people to be speakers, judges, or experts to be part of our events. This opportunity is not limited to people who are in the sustainability field, but rather those who have a passion for innovation and bettering the planet. 

How is GreenHacks involved with alumni?

In the past, GreenHacks has collaborated with:

  • JHU Environmental Health and Engineering

  • JHU Department of Sustainability

  • Bloomberg School of Public Health

  • JHU Earth and Planetary Sciences

  • JHU Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

  • Institute for NanoBioTechnology

And our participants have come from many different JHU majors and departments!

What departments have taken part in Greenhacks?

The event is open to students of ALL backgrounds and skills from the Homewood campus, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Carey Business School, MICA, and other Hopkins-affiliated schools, undergraduate or graduate student, regardless of area of study! This year, GreenHacks will also be open to the entire network of Baltimore-area universities for the first time ever! 

Who is GreenHacks open to?

The spring 2021event will be held entirely virtually via Zoom and other platforms.

How will it be held?

The event will be held from the evening of April 23, 2021 through April 25, 2021.

When will it be held?