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Edie Selsdon Games is a 3rd Year BA French and Russian student and recently she participated in our Social Hackathons. Read on about her experience brainstorming for one of our partner organisations, Poplar HARCA, and what to expect from our digital hackathons!

What made you decide to sign up for the Hackathon? 

I wanted to do something useful and fulfilling with my spare time and to help out during this crisis. I also didn’t know what a Social Hackathon was so I thought I’d sign up to find out more.

How did you find the Social Hackathon Experience? 

I really enjoyed the project. The Poplar HARCA team was so well organised and everyone had a specific task. We worked really well as a collaborative group and got so much done. I was really proud of the newsletter my group produced and everyone took their tasks seriously, but there was a very supportive environment and everyone helped each other with any creative or technical queries. There was a lot to do in one day and I was slightly overwhelmed at first but the coordinators were so friendly and we were encouraged to play music and just have fun with our respective projects.

Did you get to put any of your skills and knowledge into practice and/or did you feel like you developed skills or knowledge from the Social Hackathon? 

I definitely developed my digital skills, in terms of using marketing and branding to design the newsletter. I learned how to use Canva, which is so useful, as well as getting more creative with the use of colour and presentation.

Do you have a deeper understanding of the issues your assigned charity faces?

Although the organisation deals with very serious housing and community issues, we were publicising all the amazing work that Poplar HARCA does, and the support available to residents during the pandemic. I was very interested to learn more about how the organisation partners with various sponsors to provide residents with educational and technological support, for both adults and children. My understanding of the devastating social and economic impact of COVID-19, especially for children, deepened. 

And yet, I was inspired by the work of everyone on the team who was committed to using their skills to support those most affected.

How did you find the virtual aspect of the Hackathon? 

Using Zoom went well and it meant we could all work on our own projects without loads of noise and distractions. There were some technical hiccups but, on the whole, it worked well for such a short-term job to be online because we saved so much time.

Would you recommend other students to take part in a virtual Social Hackathon? Do you have any tips?

I would absolutely recommend taking part in a Social Hackathon. It was really humbling to be a part of the project and I learned so much from my teammates, as well as the coordinators. It was also super fun to get creative and meet new people. I’d recommend being open-minded because I didn’t really know what the event was until it began but it tied directly to my interests in housing and community centres, so it ended up being a really beneficial day for me personally, and the Poplar HARCA team seemed genuinely excited with the content we produced, which was amazing.

If you’re interested in participating in the next Social Hackathons, subscribe to our newsletter to find out when the next one will be held. You can also support charities anytime from home - check out our virtual volunteering roles here