ASU Project Humanities teams up with EqualityTV to host Hacks 4 Humanity

(Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Lam) (Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Lam)

ASU’s Project Humanities is partnering with EqualityTV to host a Hacks 4 Humanity hackathon, a two-day event Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tempe SDFC where participants will form small teams led by software designers, developers, and programmers to create a mobile app that focuses on doing social good.

EqualityTV is an Internet TV network that promotes equality through webisodes, talk shows, documentaries and discussions.

This year’s event is the first time ASU has worked with EqualityTV to host a hackathon. The event will focus on the seven basic principles of humanities: forgiveness, kindness, integrity, self-reflection, compassion, respect and empathy.

Tiffany Lam, supply chain management sophomore and Hacks 4 Humanity representative, said ASU is hosting the two-day event in hopes of advancing as a university driven by innovation.

“EqualityTV came to us with the idea, and we thought, ‘Why not?’” she said. “This event is a great opportunity for the university, especially because we’re on the forefront of innovation.”

She also said the program aims at informing people in the topic of social good, which has changed with recent technological advances.

“The event will be fun and have a ton of energy, but we also hope to help the community embody the values we’re teaching,” Lam said. “We want to bridge the gap between technology and social good.”

Although creating apps is the main part of the event, Lam said inspirational speakers will be looking to leave their own mark on the participants.

“Regardless of the success of a team’s app, we’re looking to inspire a way of thinking,” she said.

EqualityTV CEO Lisa Mae Brunson said the idea of ASU hosting the event came about when she was introduced to ASU Project Humanities during another one of her events on campus.

She also said she knew ASU would be a great place to host the event because of the overall energy she felt in her previous experiences.

“I had hosted an equality campaign and a ‘hugs’ campaign at ASU and was very delighted at how engaged the students were,” she said. “In my years of hosting events like these, ASU is one of my favorite venues.”

ASU Project Humanities Director Neal Lester said he is excited about the variety of participants who will be attending the event.

"It’s a way of doing humanities across disciplines that is a first here at ASU in terms of involving ASU and non-ASU faculty, students and staff, as well as community members from retirees to high school students,” he said.

He also said he hopes the event is very unforgettable and the idea of social good becomes a way of thinking for participants.

“I hope folks walk away from this experience with a renewed sense that it is not unusual to witness humanities, arts and technology inhabiting the same critical and productive space when we talk about the social good, innovation, and human ties,” Lester said.

Computer science graduate student Ravi Shankar, who is volunteering and participating in the event, said he has high hopes for it.

“All of the hackathons I’ve participated in before have been very fun,” he said. “I am excited to meet amazing developers, designers, visionaries and leaders.”

He also said he is excited to work with the best of the best to create a product that will benefit society.

“I look forward to working with some of the amazing participants and helping them with my technological expertise,” he said. “If developing the app means learning something new about technology, then that would be icing on the cake, because learning a new skill is the most compelling and interesting part of hackathons.”

Reach the reporter at Justin.Toscano@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @justintoscano3


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