BINGHAMTON, NY – The America East Hackathon (Hack AE), a 24-hour creative coding event that strives to bring America East undergraduate students together to engage in collaborative computer programming, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5 through Sunday, Nov. 6, at Binghamton University’s Innovative Technologies Complex (ITC), 85 Murray Hill Rd., Vestal.

This event is the first-ever program to be supported by the America East Academic Consortium, an initiative that seeks to encourage and facilitate inter-institutional academic and administrative collaboration between the nine universities that comprise the America East Conference.  The hackathon is also the first of its kind to bring students from athletically-affiliated universities together and represents an opportunity to elevate traditional coding events to a new level of competition.

"To the best of our knowledge, Hack AE will be the first conference-wide hackathon," said Juliette Kenny, executive director of the America East Academic Consortium. "No other athletic conference or athletically affiliated academic consortium has ever organized such an event, as far as we know."

A "hackathon" is described as an event, typically lasting 24 to 28 hours, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.  Teams have a limited work time (usually 24 to 48 hours) to come up with the idea for an original smartphone app, piece of software, video game or web development project, build it and then present it to a panel of judges, capitalists or fellow hackers.

"I strongly believe, assuming this event is successful, every single NCAA conference will host a yearly hackathon," said Erik Langert, a Binghamton University senior and computer science major who helped organize Hack AE.

Given that 2016 is an election year, Hack AE identifies itself as a "civic hackathon" designed to provide student developers and designers with a unique opportunity to build software and hardware projects that encourage civic engagement and address the real-world challenges facing neighborhoods, cities, states and the country. The event affords participating students a chance to meet fellow hackers from across the America East Conference, learn about new and emerging technologies from industry experts, discover internship and career opportunities, and hone their computer coding skills.

Undergraduate students enrolled at the America East Conference’s nine member institutions will attend the event, including: University at Albany; Binghamton University; University of Hartford; University of Maine; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; University of New Hampshire; Stony Brook University; and the University of Vermont. According to Binghamton University organizers, students from all academic backgrounds, regardless of hacking experience, are welcome to attend. Approximately 250 students are expected to take part.

"Not only are hackathons a fantastic learning experience for those who participate, but it is also a great way for students to get recruited for jobs and internships," said Langert. "It is a chance for sponsorship companies to improve their brand and beta-test software. Plus, the host University can show off its awesome students and facilities. Instead of just a competition with a scoreboard, a hackathon is a collaborative event that is filled with positivity."

For more information aboutHack AE, visit http://theaeac.org/events/hackae, or contact Juliette Kenny at 617-599-3407.