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Hacker Guide - Minerva Hackathon 2019 👋


What is Minerva Hackathon?

At Minerva Hackathon, we believe that you can think and create bigger than most Hackathons expect from you. We encourage you to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) side by side with talented peers and outstanding mentors. Meet programmers, designers, and problem solvers to build projects together that are worth sharing because they matter for communities all over the world. Join us in a weekend-long problem-solving experience at GitHub HQ.

What is this guide for?

This guide is meant to do just that - guide you - throughout the hackathon. You'll find the schedule, frequently asked questions, useful resources, information on workshops and submissions, and a link to the SDG Knowledge Hub. If you're ever confused about what's going on, this guide should be your first go-to resource. If you're still confused, reach out to any of the volunteers or organizers that you see walking around!


Things to Know

  1. What should I bring?

    You should bring your own laptop, charger and any devices that you think would be helpful in hacking (don’t worry, an MLH hardware lab is also going to be present). Photo ID is required upon check-in. If you are staying overnight, make sure to bring some clothes, toiletries and sleeping bag/blanket.

  2. Can I charge my electronics?

    Outlet extensions will be strewn across the HQ for you to charge your laptops and other electronic devices. Please be mindful of these and make sure to share with other hackers.

  3. Will I be fed?

    Food and drinks will be provided to you by GitHub. Coffee will be provided throughout the Hackathon in the Kitchen area next to the lounge right after you pass the reception desk. Also, there will be water for you. Stay hydrated.

  4. What if I don’t have a team?

    We got you. We’ll provide sessions for team formation and ideation, so that you can form a team of up to 4 people. It is encouraged that you pair up with people who have different skills. According to our experience, diverse backgrounds generate creative projects!


Team formation 🤝

The team size is up to 4 people. Want to be a solo-hacker? Yes you can.

Hackathon is a collaborative event and it's encouraged to meet new friends and team up with people. A team with diverse skillsets and background(Developer, Data Scientists, Designer, etc) will likely to have creavity projects. Therfore, we created two ways to help you find the team:

1 Team Formation Spreadsheet

Go to this spreadsheet to post your name, interest, ideas, skills. Connect with people. This will be the hub for team formation. Questions for inspiration will be attached to the spreadsheet and teams can sign their members next to questions. If you want to work on your own question (which you are encouraged to!)

2 Slack Channel #team_formation

Join Slack and check out the #find_team channel. Post about your ideas, skills or needs there! The 7 categories of SDGs have their own channels where you can find all 17 SDGs. Hint - mention SDGs you're interesred to find people having similar goals and work together.

Lastly, don't forget you can just talk to people in person! Being open-minded to share your ideas, people will not likely to steal it.

Event Schedule

Day 1, April 6

Time Location Activity Details
9:00 - 10:00 AM Entrance Registrations Have your photo ID
10:30 AM Stage Opening Gather round to get on board with our amazing hosts: Alexander Wu.
11:30 AM Common Area Team Formation Find people to team with and get cracking.
11:45 AM Common Area Food and Hacking Share your brilliant ideas with each other over food.
Ongoing Anywhere Hacking
1:00 - 5:30 PM Stage Workshops (Optional) These workshops are optional but highly encouraged. Learn more about the workshops below.
6:00 PM Common Area Dinner
10:00 PM Entrance Doors Close. (No re-enter until 8 AM the next day!)

Day 2, April 7

Time . Location Activity Details
8: 00 AM Entrance Doors Open
9: 00 AM Common Area Breakfast Rise and shine.
11: 00 AM Common Area DevPost Submission Closed Upload your project to DevPost before it closes!
12:00 PM Common Area End of Hacking Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 PM Everywhere Demos Round You will present your projects to the judges, who will then evaluate whether you qualify for the final round. You will be notified if you get selected to pitch. Stay updated.
2:15 - 4:00 PM Stage Pitches, Award and Closing Thank you for coming and hacking to make the world more sustainable.
4:00 - 5:30 PM Everywhere Departures Please take back everything you own, throw away trash, and help the organizers and volunteers in cleaning up the space.

Sleeping Logistics 😴

Things to remember

  • Doors will close at 10 p.m. on Saturday and anyone will be allowed to enter GitHub until 8 a.m. on Sunday
  • Only 18+ participants will be allowed to sleep at the venue

Sleeping @GitHub 💤

  • Minerva Hackathon will borrow 20 sleeping bags for participants, pre-reservation is not available.
  • To receive a sleeping bag, Hackers must give to the responsible person their ID (only documents with picture will be accepted, no credit or debit cards), phone number (for contacting purposes) and Slack name.
  • All sleeping bags must be returned to Minerva Hackathon team by Sunday, at 9 am.
  • The points of contact for sleeping logics is Lucas. (Slack name: Lucas Mudo)
  • After 11 pm on Saturday, the couch area and the stage area will be exclusive for Hackers that want to sleep. Thus, teams should prioritize using the kitchen area.

Workshops 🚀

We have organized workshops for you to help your ideation process and facilitate you in coming up with innovative and sustainable solutions.

All workshops will be held at the Stage Area. If you would like more information, you can either Slack or find the respective PoC about the workshops!

Workshop Name Time Trainer
Ideation with #rightproblem 1:00 – 2:00 PM Chris Wilkinson
Intro to Slack App 2:15 - 3:45 Mikulas Plesak
Intro to GitHub 3:45 - 4:45 Janghoon Lee
Intro to Blockchain (Social Impact) 4:45 – 5:45 PM Whittney Griffith

Ideation - SDGs Knowledge Hub 📕

We've crafted a GitHub guide that should help you get inspiration on your SDG projects. We highly recommend reading this before starting to hack! You'll find tons of useful information, from what exactly each SDG is concerned with to datasets and examples of past projects for inspiration. Find it here.

Mentors 😎

  • Your code doesn't work? Did you stuck with your ideation? Do not destroy your computer!!
  • We have awesome mentors here to help you with coding and ideation! To find them, just go to the slack channel #ask_a_mentor!
  • To ask for help, please say in the message what do you need and the place where the mentors can find you! (You know, we haven't implanted GPS devices yet)

Criteria 🎖

Criteria explain how we think a good project should be. Here's three criteria for Minerva Hackathon:

  1. Impact (50%) Impact score = scalability x solvability x neglectedness

    • Scale – if we solved the problem, how good would it be?
    • Solvability – if we doubled the resources dedicated to solving this problem, what fraction of the problem would we expect to solve?
    • Neglectedness – how many resources are already going towards solving this problem? To sum up, the Impact score incentivice solutions that has a large sacle, feasible to sovle and is highly negelected.
      Why measurement in this why? Understand more in this article
  2. SDG Relevance (20%) Is the solution related to the one of multiple UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and does the association strong?

  3. Demo / Pitch (30 %) Did the demo and the pitch appropriately complement the concept? We'll look at your tech implementation, design and user experience.

Prizes 🏆


  • 1st place: Google Home Mini for the entire team
  • 2nd place: Boba Guys tile hoodies + tea for the entire team
  • 3rd place: Boba Guys totes for the entire team (edited)

And here are the prizes from MLH:

  • Best use of Google Cloud Platform: Google Home Minis
  • Best domain registered with Raspberry Pis & PiHut essential kits
  • Best IoT Hack using a Qualcomm device: DragonBoard 410Cs
  • Best use of Blockstack: $100 Amazon gift card
  • 400$ credite for the best use of Paperspace

Submissions 📤

To submit your project, you'll go to our DevPost site and register there. On the day of the hackathon, submissions will open, letting you create a new project where you can add descriptions, links, screenshots, and many other things. The DevPost page should guide you through the whole process.

If you still have questions about submission, just call out one of the volunteers or organizers walking around. They'll know what to do.

All hacking will end 12:00 PM, April 7. **And the deadline for DevPost submission is 11:00 AM, April 7. **

Demo and Pitches 🎉

Once hacking ends, you'll demo your final project in front of the judges. This will take a "science fair" format, where judges will walk around listening to 3-minute elevator pitches from each team and ask any clarifying questions about the projects.

After this first round, judges will select 6 teams that will then demo their amazing projects in front of all the hackers. Prepare to be blown away.

Judges 🧙‍♀️

We've reached out to some remarkable people to be our judges for the hackathon! Click on their names below to learn more about them:

Code of conduct 📣

We abide by the MLH Code of Conduct and the Minerva Hackathon code of conduct. Make sure you're familiar with them!

Sponsors 💪🏻

Thanks to our awesome sponsors GitHub to provide all hackers great venue and foods.

GitHub Logo

What is GitHub? Click here to learn more about it

Any questions? 👋

Send to #askit channel in Slack, or send an email to . You can also ask organizers / volunteers in event.