Hack Yes! First Annual Energy Hackathon Challenges Dartmouth Students to Develop Solutions to Real-World Energy Problems

In November 2021, three Dartmouth Energy Alliance (DEA) club members traveled to Cambridge, MA to participate in the annual MIT Energy Hack. When their fellow Dartmouth energy club members heard about their positive experiences, it became clear that it was time for a Big Green energy hackathon. 

With a growing and enthusiastic membership and access to a beautiful and flexible new building designed for just these types of activities, the DEA leadership, working with Irving Institute staff, began planning the first annual Dartmouth Energy Hackathon.

The Hackathon took place on Saturday, October 22, during Dartmouth Energy Week. Twenty-five students arrived at the Irving Institute building, grabbed breakfast catered by Lou's, rolled up their sleeves, and got to work! The students organized in small teams and chose from one of eight challenge questions. The challenges reflected the cross-cutting nature of energy, ranging from topics like improving energy efficiency and sustainability on campus, to developing a carbon accounting app aimed at students, to designing an effective messaging campaign to promote more sustainable lifestyles. 


a group of people sitting on wooden steps
The 2022 Energy Hackathon participants and judges

The teams were provided with some basic informational resources around their topics and had access to faculty, staff, alumni, and industry experts to help them develop their projects. After a long, collaborative day, participants gathered in the Institute Project Lab to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts. The judges Mike Novello '99, Renewable Energy Analyst for Wagner Forest Management; Nancy Schwartzman Malmquist '79, Partner and Vice-Chair, Energy and Telecommunications Group at Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC; John Minderman TU'23, Revers Fellow; Abby Rogers '90, Global Brand Manager at ExxonMobil; Molly Smith, Program Coordinator for the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School; and Sean Smith, Dartmouth Professor of Computer Science, , assessed the proposed solutions on the basis of their creativity, execution and planning, impact and user accessibility, and effectiveness of presentation.  

In the end, while three teams came out on top, all of the participants enjoyed the experience. The opportunity to work collaboratively with peers and meet and gain insights from energy experts from across the spectrum gave some of our rising energy stars a chance to engage with the kinds of real-world challenges that require the creativity, innovation, and skills that they showed off during the day. 

Dartmouth Energy Alliance Hackathon 2022 Winners

First Place: Team Greenville (Khanh Le, Remi Kauderer, Jhujhar Sama, Ozgur Tuna Ozturk, and Muhammad Ussaid Mustajab)

Second Place: Team Pepto (Allan Rubio, Amanda Sun, and Samrit Mathur) 

Most Equitable Energy Solution: Team Lead the Way (Issac Burden and Albert Zhang)