Registration open for virtual hackathon

Event encourages students to create way to make housing affordable; registration closes Oct. 1



The 24-hour virtual Hack-a-House event will encourage university students to create ways to make housing more affordable nationwide.

BRADLEY GAMBLE, Evergreen reporter

WSU is co-sponsoring a 24-hour virtual Hack-a-House event where students can improve affordable housing in the U.S. by creating policies and design elements. 

The event educates students about issues and concerns around affordable housing, said Ryan Smith, director of WSU’s School of Design and Construction.  Students are encouraged to have innovative ideas that can be implemented nationwide. 

Teams will be given a brief to respond to at the beginning of the event, he said. Their response must include an idea focusing on policy and regulatory reform, construction and design, or finance and present a pitch. 

There will be guest speakers and workshops during the event to help students come up with ideas, he said. 

The presentations will be judged based on the proposal’s feasibility and how unique it is, according to the Ivory Innovations website. First place winners of each category will receive a $3,000 cash prize. There will also be a People’s Choice Award with a $1,000 prize. 

Smith said affordable housing is a big problem in the U.S., which has gotten worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If people are spending 30, 40 or 50 percent of their income on housing, then that leaves very little to take care of other things in their lives,” he said. “If the next generation has no capacity to build that wealth, how are they going to become financially stable?”

Smith said the event’s switch to a virtual format allows more students around the country to get involved. 

The hackathon event is hosted by Ivory Innovations, a foundation based at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, he said. WSU and three other universities are co-sponsoring the event, along with the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. 

Students from all accredited universities can participate in the event, according to the website. There is no limit to the number of teams that can participate.

Students can register for the event individually or as a group on Ivory Innovation’s registration page. Registration is open until Oct. 1.