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Leina Hatch is an MSc Management Science student in the UCL School of Management. This November, Leina participated in our annual Social Hackathons and worked with a group of fellow innovative and passionate volunteers to help Caritas Westminster, one of our partner organisations. If you’re wondering what it’s like to join a Hackathon, read her story to find out more! 


What made you decide to sign up for the Hackathon? 

I heard about this opportunity through the UCL Student Union online newsletter.

Was the Hackathon what you expected?

Better than expected, our group was able to listen to key stakeholder concerns and got to work in breakout rooms on how we would solve their issues. It was a very relaxed environment, where everyone was enthusiastic and supportive. 

Have you learned new skills or developed existing ones?

I’ve developed the ability to coordinate a group effectively in a short time. Deliver strategic recommendations and present insights back to stakeholders. 

Do you feel you’ve made a difference to the charity, or learned about a new community?

Definitely, our team received very strong feedback on our recommendations for offering online intergenerational volunteering initiatives. We were even offered the opportunity to see our ideas come to fruition, which makes the hackathon even better! For communities, 100%. The event raised my awareness to the different types of local charities operating in London and how they deliver social impact to communities in need. It was very inspirational and has prompted me to continue applying for volunteering opportunities. 

How did you find the digital aspect of the Hackathon?

Very straightforward and easy to execute through a shared Google doc. You’re also presented with the possibility to be as creative as you want and design your team’s presentation slide deck. Oliver, from the UCL volunteering service, was there to facilitate any technicalities and was very helpful in addressing any concerns we had. It’s a very chilled environment where you’re working in multidisciplinary teams with students from different backgrounds, so we all have something unique to bring to the table. The teams were very diverse and inclusive, which fostered an ideal environment for creative idea sharing. 

Have you enjoyed the Social Hackathon experience? 

Most definitely, this was a very rewarding experience to be able to make high-driven impact in such short time. Charities operate on very constrained budgets, so every penny counts when making a decision. Being able to facilitate those decisions for them makes the biggest difference, in my opinion. Working alongside really enthusiastic and driven people was another key highlight of the day that left me feeling very fulfilled. 

I would recommend the Hackathon to others, in particular to those who are time-constrained but want to give back to society and make a difference. This hackathon is also ideal for any aspiring consultants or creatives out there looking to put their skillset into practice through a hands-on project.

Inspired to join our next Social Hackathons? Don’t miss our announcements and 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