Camp Poly Hacks is a multidisciplinary event dedicated to social entrepreneurship in human-centered design. This year’s event, held March 5 through March 6, consisted of students of all backgrounds working to plan, design, pitch and market a problem that San Luis Obispo County is facing.
Head of merchandising for Camp Poly Hacks and graphic communications junior Lexi Battaglini said she believes the most diverse team is the strongest team.
“Building these teams out of these different majors and skill sets overall makes everybody stronger because you can pull from different strengths and compensate [for] different weaknesses,” Battaglini said.
Director of Camp Poly Hacks and communications junior Maddie Valladao said there are three positions students are able to choose from on a team: advocator, designer and builder.
She wants to remind people that all individuals of all disciplinary backgrounds are important.
“We want to show the world that even if you don’t know how to code you can still be valuable to a technological-centered team,” Valladao said.
The advocator position is meant for students strong at pitching, while the designer deals with conceptualizing the form a project takes, mostly concerning branding. The builder position is for students interested in the construction and development of a project.
Valladao hopes this event will help disprove the notion that individuals who are not engineers or software designers cannot be of value in the field of technology.
“A lot of the time people think you can just create an entire team of the builder persona and just have all software engineers on your time and that’s what’s gonna get you the best product. But in reality, that’s just not always true especially in the workforce,” Valladao said.
Computer science junior Jack Nelson decided to take on the builder persona at this year’s event, with his team taking second place in the hackathon for their app designed to assist veterans in need.
Nelson believes the event has more value than simply designing a pitch.
“Sometimes we’re too focused on class and schoolwork and we don’t think about how you need to pitch to go into the market,” he said.
He also added that Cal Poly has “lots of bright minds,” and he hopes the ideas presented in the hackathon get implemented by the county.
The winners of the competition, David Chen, Ashley Lang and Zhisong Liang, created an app called “Instaboard.” This app allows individuals to share an interactive whiteboard with another iPhone by simply sharing a four-digit code.