HacKSU to host Kent Hack Enough, expects more attendees

Tess Cottom

Kent State technology organization HacKSU’s annual hackathon, Kent Hack Enough, is expected to have more attendees, prizes and sponsors than their past events for this year.

Kent Hack Enough is a weekend-long event where students from all majors come to the University Library to develop and build a technology project. Kent Hack Enough is organized by HacKSU, a student organization “focused on learning and utilizing contemporary web and mobile technologies,” according to its website.

Robin Bonatesta, a senior fashion merchandising major and one of the organizers for the event, said the first Kent Hack Enough was in 2012. She said every year since attendance has doubled.

“Last year, we had 150 students,” Bonatesta said. “This year, we’re hoping for 250.”

Kent Hack Enough is part of a broader scheme of hackathons, which take place all over the world, networking with their own Facebook groups.

Bonatesta said students will be coming from all over Ohio, as well as from places like Pittsburgh, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, New York and Canada.

Students who participate in the event are required to create their entries from scratch during the competition.

“A lot of times, a lot of the teams and ideas are formed the first night of the event,” said Paul Dilyard, a senior digital science major and another organizer for the event.

The organizers of the event even reimburse students for their travel. The event is funded by a $5,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, as well as a list of sponsors that grows each year.

This year, Kent Hack Enough has 18 different sponsors, including names like American Greetings, Progressive, Rosetta and Smucker’s.

“A lot of sponsors this year have heard about Kent Hack Enough,” Bonatesta said. “They’ve approached us and said they wanted to get involved.”

Dilyard said he has developed a website for sponsors to choose from different sponsorship plans and pay different amounts of money for different plans.

“They pay us and, in return, they get access to our participant’s resumes,” Bonatesta said. “They come to the event and it’s sort of a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Sponsors will come to the event with recruiters and mentors to help students in building their projects.

Sami Glass, a junior computer science major and event volunteer, said this year, in addition to mentors, Kent Hack Enough will have around 20 volunteers to help with problems.

At the end of the event, first, second and third place winners will be chosen, with a first place prize of $2,000. In addition to those prizes, different colleges will award separate prizes to students.

This year, the Fashion School will award $500 to the best fashion-based hack. The School of Journalism will also award a prize for the best data visualization hack.

Kent Hack Enough will take place from Oct. 9-11 in the library. For more information on the event, visit https://khe.io.

Tess Cottom is the technology reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].