Hackathons are a way to push the boundaries of what you know and learn what you don't. They provide an environment to learn, explore, and engage to complete a project with a set amount of time. The Design Innovation Initiative supports multiple hackathon events across the university annually.
For instance, the Kent State Annual Fashion/Tech Hackathon, a national event now in its 10th year, students spend 36 hours working in teams and building a project of their choice, such an app or a garment, while getting support from mentors and sponsors. Participants meet companies looking to hire while getting their hands on the latest tech. Students are given the opportunity to solve problems they see in the world by utilizing fashion and technology.
A partnership of the TechStyleLAB and LaunchNET at Kent State University, the Fashion/Tech Hackathon gathers students from many majors and curriculums from across the nation, and brings them together with mentors and sponsor companies over a 36-hour period, to unlock creativity and apply breakthrough ideas that result in innovative concepts and products. From wearable tech to new apps to new ways to use existing technologies, students solve problems by using fashion and technology tools and solutions, and win prizes. Sponsors and mentors have access to possible future employees and innovative, leading-edge products. The event typically hosts 150 - 200 student participants from and has included representatives from 50 different universities. Attendees have come from more than 20 majors with a nearly equal split of male/female and a highly diverse set of backgrounds/ethnicities. Over the past 5 years, more than 70% were first-time hackers!