Peace Corps seeks help via UC Berkeley Social Innovation Hackathon

ATTENTION: Reporters covering technology, higher education, economic development and developing nations

WHAT: Organizers of the 2013 Social Innovation Hackathon at University of California, Berkeley’s School of Information (I School) are inviting students, professional or aspiring hackers and others interested in making a difference to develop solutions to Peace Corps real-world challenges.

The Peace Corps is sponsoring the collaborative event and offering prizes totaling $2,000 for the winning entries.

“We are excited about collaborating with some of the best minds in the country and finding new ways to tackle challenges faced by the communities that our volunteers serve,” said Clint Niehus, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal and now a Peace Corps recruiter in San Francisco.

WHEN: From 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15, until 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16.

A Peace Corps representative will reveal the specific hackathon challenges about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, after participants register and assemble their teams.  Teams will present their proposals at 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Judges will announce the winners about 5 p.m. that day.

WHERE: UC Berkeley’s School of Information, located at South Hall near the center of campus and just southwest of the Campanile.

DETAILS: Space is limited, so to participate or observe, please register online.

Hackers will be supplied with plenty of food and caffeine, according to hackathon organizers, who said participants will be able to code the night away in South Hall labs, gather in conference rooms to plot their courses, or even grab a nap.

The I School-Peace Corps engagement is a natural one, considering UC Berkeley’s tradition of public service and the campus title as the all-time top producer of volunteers for the agency, with more than 3,400 UC Berkeley alumni having served with the Peace Corps since its founding in 1963.  In addition, the I School offers courses that focus on bringing technology to underserved areas, and faculty members conduct research in the growing field of information and communications technologies and development (ICTD). More information about I School and ICTD is online.