HackPSU looking to grow its field of competitors

March 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The largest student-run technology event at Penn State will kick off this weekend when students from around the country converge on the University Park campus for HackPSU.

Beginning on Saturday, March 16, the biannual, 24-hour hackathon is sponsored in part by Penn State IT and is expected to draw to the Business Building nearly 1,000 competitors from multiple universities. There, they’ll race against the clock to create “hacks” or solutions to real-world problems.

In HackPSU’s case, those problems are presented in the form of challenges by sponsors like Google, General Motors, Geico, Microsoft and more.

“It’s a huge networking event,” HackPSU Marketing Director Colin Moran said. “Everyone on the HackPSU committee that sets it up has gotten an internship through this event, and we hear all the time, ‘If I hadn’t come, I wouldn’t have gotten my internship.’”

Registration is open and hackers can sign up until Saturday. There is no registration fee and free food is provided before hacking ends at 4 p.m. Sunday. A judging expo will follow.

There will be a major difference between this semester’s event and HackPSUs of the past. In an effort to bring fresh competitors into the hackathon, HackPSU’s executive committee is introducing a new competition track that will appeal to would-be hackers who lack significant computer programing or coding skills.

HackPSU’s executive team worked with global professional services firm Ernst & Young and the Smeal College of Business to create a business case competition open to teams of up to four students who will act as consultants and present their business plans to judges Saturday night.

“This is an educational hackathon. You can come and learn anything you want.”

—HackPSU Marketing Director Colin Moran

The new business challenge will provide a unique opportunity for students with a passion for technology, Moran said.

“This is an educational hackathon. You can come and learn anything you want,” Moran said. “You don’t have to necessarily compete in the Google challenge just to get something out of this. There’s free food. You can come meet the sponsors, hopefully find an internship, and worst case, you come out of it learning something you didn’t know before.

“This is more than just a strictly 'you have to be the best of the best at computer programming to come' and more of a, ‘If you’re interested in technology, this is your event.”

Last Updated March 15, 2019