What is a Hackathon?

A hackathon is a competitive event, lasting 24-48 hours, where diverse individuals collaborate to create a new product or solve a critical problem.

Hackathon is a blend of two words: “Hack” and “Marathon” – taking apart a difficult problem and prototyping a solution in a specific period of time.

The goal of a community hackathon is to expand on the group’s collective imagination, network, access, and expertise in order to find new solutions to a real world challenge.

Why a Hackathon?

In 2017, high school students Cortlandt Meyerson ‘20 and Ben Pogacar ‘20 submitted a proposal to launch a social good hackathon at Rocky Hill Country Day School.

They articulated the opportunity for students to take a leadership role in Rhode Island by creating the first statewide high school hackathon to solve real world problems, designed by students, for students.

The vision was to connect public and private schools by inviting teams to join RHS in the spirit of cooperation, competition, and innovation to address an immediate local and global problem.

Why Pollution?

Pollution is one of the United Nations Global Challenges. Pollution may cause disease, allergies, and harm humans, animals, food crop and the environment. Rhode Island’s next generation is stepping up to discover innovative solutions to reduce local and global causes of Pollution.

What do you mean by “Hack For Global Good”?

A “social good hackathon” is a gathering event for all doers committed to solving important problems in the world.

Hack For Global Good is a time-bound event focused on social good, where student teams assemble to solve a real-world global challenge. Each year, student organizers designate a theme. This year’s theme is Pollution in all its forms: air, water, soil, plastics, light, noise, social media,, etc.

What does it mean to “Pitch” an idea?

• Student teams must be able to explain their solution. The process of presenting an idea before a panel of judges is called a “Pitch” event.
• Teams have just 5 minutes to present and share on stage how their solution will address or solve any form of Pollution.
• Presentations will be on stage, in front of a panel of judges, and each team will be allocated 5 minutes.
• Teams can use powerpoint, video, posters, art, music, a physical prototype, a working model or 3D rendering – whatever method they choose to explain their idea.
• During each presentation, judges will score each team’s performance and solution. After all teams have presented, the judges “score sheets” will be tallied and the winners announced.

How long will the Teams have to design a Solution2Pollution?

1 Day

Saturday, Nov. 16 on the Rocky Hill Country Day School campus, teams have the opportunity to Sketch, Build, and Pitch. From 8am – 5pm student teams can access industry mentors, review articles, gather online research, watch videos and add their own inspiration as they strategize and collectively design a focused solution to an important global issue: Pollution. Teams are encouraged to educate themselves on local and global challenges related to Pollution in advance of the actual Hackathon day. The more you learn about the topic that better you’ll be able to communicate and discuss solutions with your Team!

The goal is to come up with the most creative and imaginative IDEA to solve the problem.

No more. No Less.
Go big. Go bold.

Then think even bigger!

After Registering as a Student-Participant, what then? 

Download Whova App (it’s free!) and begin networking with VIP’s, Mentors, Peers, and Industry Experts. Add your information and say hi so we know you are here! Check the app for regular updates from the Hack for Global Good community. New speakers and workshops will be posted regularly.

What do I bring to Hack For Global Good 2019? 

• Laptop / phone / charger (We will provide a limited # of laptops on a first-come, first-served basis)

• Friday Evening: Dress for group photo with VIPs

• Saturday: Casual Dress

• Reusable Water Bottle

• Sweatshirt / raincoat?

• Food Items if Special Dietary Needs / Restrictions

By Students.
For Students.
Make sure to add these dates and times on your Calendar:

Friday, November 15 @ 4:30pm – 8pm

• Rocky Hill Country Day School Campus for Registration and Welcome Ceremony.
• All Student-Participants must arrive on campus on Friday, Nov. 15 by 4:30pm to secure a Badge, T-shirt, and Room assignment.
• As a participant you’ll also have an exclusive opportunity to meet and greet VIPs and Mentors. Dinner is provided.

Saturday, November 16 @ 8am – 8pm

• All day Hackathon and Pitch!
• From 8am to 5pm you and your Team will brainstorm, sketch, design, build and prepare to share your bold #Solution2Pollution idea. Snacks and Lunch is provided.
• Teams have just 1-day to quickly seek, discuss, and identify new ways to overcome outdated policies and consumer practices that harm the environment.
• Collaborating and sharing diverse skills, team members will inspire new approaches and opportunities for businesses and consumers to create everyday products or solutions to various forms of pollution.
• From 5:30 – 6:30pm Teams get 5 minutes each to pitch their solution. It can be a powerpoint, poster, video, or skit however you feel compelled to introduce your Solution2Pollution.

What are the criteria for choosing the Hack For Global Good Winner(s)?

Teams must be ready to clearly articulate the following in a 5 minute presentation before a panel of industry Judges:

Judging Criteria:

1- A specific problem related to Pollution

2- A clear and original solution developed together as a team during the Hackathon

3- A solution that qualifies as: (1) “Moonshot” (auditions, radical, inspiring, groundbreaking idea), or (2) “Global Impact” (capable of helping the most amount of people), or (3) “Best Pitch” (clearly articulated and powerfully delivered on-stage presentation)

4- *Extra credit to the student idea that solves a Pollution-related problem in both Rhode Island and around the World!

What is NOT expected of a Student-Participant:

• You don’t have to know coding, programming or technology to participate. If you do, awesome! These skills can definitely help your team. But are not required.

• You don’t have to have the solution in advance. The goal is to discuss and brainstorm the problems and design solutions together with your team members. Practice collaboration.

• You don’t need to have participated in a Hackathon before.

• You don’t have to present a working prototype or product during the Pitch. Your solution doesn’t event have to be physically available or accessible.

How should I prepare for Hack For Global Good 2019 as a Student-Participant?

Your job is to read, learn, and understand as much information as you’d like to know about the subject matter of Pollution.

• Learn why this topic is so critical, both in Rhode Island and around the World. Understand the organizations currently working on solutions. Discover what inspires you and identify the pollution-challenge you want to solve?

• Feel free to discuss with your parents, teachers, friends. This is not a secret assignment but a community dialogue.

• Reading the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a resource.

• The more information you bring to the Hackathon the better you can help your Team brainstorm a solution.

How do I know what PROBLEM to focus on?

First, read and learn about the different challenges related to POLLUTION. Then with your student team, identify and select one Pollution-related problem that in some way:

• affects the citizens of Rhode Island, or billions of people around the Globe.

How do I know if the SOLUTION meets the Judging Criteria?

A clear Hack For Global Good solution meets the following criteria:
• It addresses a form of Pollution
• It originates from student team discussions and brainstorming during the Hackathon
• It represents a bold “moonshot IDEA” (i.e., it’s inspiring, audacious, fresh, imaginative)
• It clearly articulates to the judging panel the problem, the solution, and the impact (local/global reach)
• It is presented on stage, in 5 minutes time, on Sat., Nov. 16 @ 5pm

Rhode Island Statewide Hackathon

Hackathon Goals


To launch a statewide initiative that exposes High School students to 21st Century Skills during a real world scenario.

To develop learning modules that incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship exposing RI students and teachers to new ideas, opportunities, and an innovator's mindset.

Student Benefits

• 24 hours real-world experience to discover and test your ideas

• Entrepreneurial and leadership workshops

• Access to global experts, mentors and judges to build your professional network

• A digital badge or micro-credential to build your resume

• A chance to pitch your idea to industry experts or prototype your solution

• A chance to intern at a local company with a social good mission

Skills Developed

Based on 2018 feedback from all participants, the Top 5 skills students developed during the Hackathon were:

 Teamwork & Collaboration

 Problem Solving

 Presentation Skills




Hack for Global Good

Hosted by

530 Ives Rd.
East Greenwich, RI 02818

Contact Us

401.884.9070 x182