Durham College (DC) students got a chance to flex their problem-solving muscles and confront a major sustainability challenge this week when they took part in the first-ever DC Hackathon on April 26. The event, which took place at the college’s Oshawa campus in conjunction with DC’s annual Research Day, was hosted by FastStartDC, an entrepreneurship training program offered by the college, and co-sponsored by a number of local organizations including Spark Centre, Bereskin & Parr, GM Canada, ORION, and Durham Regional Economic Development, the organization tasked with promoting economic growth and development in Durham Region.
For the uninitiated, a hackathon is a short, intensive session where teams are given a problem, and bring their own skills and resources to solve challenges. With support from the college’s sustainability office, the DC Hackathon focused on the impact of climate change and how current patterns of human activity can be changed to promote better environmental sustainability. More than 60 students from DC’s various academic schools participated in the event, where they were divided into teams and encouraged to come up with whatever ideas were feasible to solve the challenge. Whether it was building an app, creating a plan of action, presenting an oral report or designing a product prototype, all options were on the table.
“Our first-ever hackathon was a huge success and really underscored DC’s commitment to give our students the opportunity to take on high-level research challenges,” said Rebecca Holmes, entrepreneurship co-ordinator at FastStart DC. “Sustainability is very important to the college and the students enjoyed meeting their counterparts from many different programs as they worked together and created innovative new ideas to solve the challenge, all in a single day.”