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Applications open for 2022 'SpartaHack' programming marathon

March 3, 2022

Applications are now open for Michigan State University’s Hackathon, SpartaHack VII.

SpartaHack is a 36-hour programming marathon and competition where students of all studies and backgrounds are invited to spend a weekend creating a project, showcasing talent and sharing an interest in programming.

“The best way to describe it is it's an innovation marathon,” SpartaHack Director of Communications and Marketing and human biology senior Annie Hoang-Pham said. “You’re dealing with a bunch of problems and how are you going to solve it in 36 hours? It's a really cool weekend.”

Anyone who is currently a student or anyone that has graduated within the last 12 months is eligible for SpartaHack. This includes graduate students, undergraduate students and high school students from any field of study.

Program experience is not necessary for the event. In fact, organizers of SpartaHack encourage anyone with an interest in programming to use the event as an opportunity to try it out. 

“It’s a really good event just for someone to check out to see if tech is the right interest for them because I'm sure there's hundreds of MSU students who are feeling like they aren't in the right major, and this might be an opportunity for them to figure out other paths after graduation,” Hoang-Pham said.

In order to assist those with minimal programming experience and to allow others to learn even more, SpartaHack will host workshops and mentors to help students grow in their programming. Hardware will also be provided to anyone who needs it.

In addition to the opportunity to explore programming, the event gives students the chance to network and make connections in the industry through the SpartaHack sponsors.

Currently, SpartaHack is sponsored by Ford, Kellog's, MSU IT, TwilioQuest, MSU Federal Credit Union and E.&J. Gallo Winery.

"We expose you to companies that are deliberately looking for talent," SpartaHack Director of Technology and computer science masters student Morgan Sandler said. "They come to SpartaHack, they sponsor SpartaHack with the goal that we have all this talent at Michigan State and that talent is eventually going to go into industry or academia. This is their chance to be exposed to us and us to them."

Participants are welcome to use SpartaHack to create anything that they want, with most opting to learn something new and others choosing to build something more challenging. 

Although granted complete creative freedom, students are invited to use the event to work towards solving a real-world issue.

"There are these large open issues in technology and society," Sandler said. "The core essence of hackathons, yes, you have these benefits of learning and meeting people, but the core is that we're headed in this direction of the future and the future has lots of problems and we're all here to brainstorm and use our collective thinking to solve them."

Prizes and monetary incentives will be gifted to students who solve challenges.

SpartaHack VII will be held at Wells Hall from April 8 to 10. Food and sleeping arrangements will be provided free of charge for participants.

“We take care of all your essential needs and all you have to do is just be open to innovate,” Sandler said.

Students are asked to register for the event using the application on the SpartaHack website. 

“I know apply is a scary word for a lot of people, especially someone who's not experienced in hackathons, but it's really simple,” Hoang-Pham said. “If you go to our website, all you have to do is just fill out personal information about yourself and your resume and as long as you reach your criteria, and the only criteria is that you are a student or you graduated within the past 12 months, you're going to be approved immediately.”

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