This weekend the University of Guelph is hosting the Guelph Hacks for Mental Health hackathon. As of this moment, university students from across campus (and from a few local high schools) are working in interdisciplinary groups to develop solutions that support positive mental health on campus.
More specifically, the students are working to develop tools to improve communication, facilitate coping mechanisms and other positive mental health skills and behaviours in their peers, or building algorithms to proactively identify at-risk students before a mental health crisis occurs.
To my knowledge, this is the biggest hackathon that the University of Guelph has ever hosted. And it’s the most interdisciplinary hackathon as well.
This event wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless efforts of two students who have helped me pull this event together: Patrick Houlding (School of Computer Science, President of SoCIS), and Jonathan MacPherson (School of Engineering). Both of them have been recognized for their contributions on campus. Jon was awarded the 2017 University of Guelph Student Life Be The Change Award, and both have received the 2017 Gordon Nixon Leadership Award for their work on Guelph Hacks. This event wouldn’t be what it is without their support and hard work, and I can’t thank them enough.
Of course, there are so many other students and partners that I need to thank. I’m going to try to list them all here, but please forgive me if I forget anyone as I’m a wee bit tired at the moment (just know that your efforts and support are very much appreciated).
Thank you to our keynote speakers Brenda Whiteside (AVP Student Affairs), and Brittany Danishevsky (Jack.org student representative). Thank you to all of our student volunteers (Catherine, Joyce, Alex, Andrej, Burhan, Patrick, Ross, Valerie, Loic, Kiri, Shelby, Mark, Jake, Kyle, Jennifer). Thank you to our mentors from AdKnown (Andrew and Bill), Inbox Marketer (Brad and Matt), Magnet Forensics (Amaris, Sven, Cameron, Michelle, Mark, Andrew, Jan, and Victoria), Student Wellness (Alison, Cheryl), the Ontario Centres of Excellence (Tim), Overlap Associates (Brooke) and the CMHA Waterloo Wellington (Meredith and friends). Thank you to all of the local (and not so local) businesses that have offered swag and prizes (in no particular order): DELL EMC, Clearpath Chiropractic, Wellington Brewery, Royal City Brewery, Baker Street Station, Miijidda, Sweet Temptations, The Brass Taps, Guelph Gryphons, Trotter’s Butchershop, The Works, Acqua Hair Salon, Grey Rock Clothing, The Campus Bookstore, GitHub, Major League Hacking, Soylent, Amazon, and Microsoft. Thank you to our judges (who I won’t list until tomorrow because I want to keep it a surprise). And of course, thank you to the University of Guelph, CPES, COA, OAC, OVC, CSAHS, CBS, CBE, SoCS, SoE, SOCIS, GCC, CPESSA, EngSoc, Student Wellness, PSEER, Jack.org, and all the many student groups who championed this event.
It really does take a village 🙂