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Swarthmore Students Win Hack4HumanityNYC
December 5-7, 2014, New York City: Swarthmore students Michael Piazza ('17),
Simon Bloch ('17), Nader Helmy ('17), Miguel Gutierrez ('18),
and Dylan Jeffers ('15) competed in and won
a 48-hour hackathon aimed at having teams develop apps or programs with a humanitarian
goal or social good in mind. The Swarthmore team created "Alli", an app for
students on college campuses to both help prevent and raise awareness around
sexual assault in the environments where it can develop.
The Swarthmore team wowed the
judges and fellow competitors with their app's simplicity and power.
The judge's panel consisted of
Google Ideas executives and
representatives from UNICEF and the UN Development Fund. The
Swatties (team quickSorta) beat out other teams from Yale, Penn, Harvard, Columbia,
and five other stellar universities. Their tearful acceptance speech
was truly inspiring, a perfect capstone to a weekend of impactful work
and visionary thinking.
The Alli app works by providing a simple button the user can press if they feel they are in danger. Pressing the button immediately alerts the top 5 people on the user's Friends List, as well as anonymous users in the nearby vicinity. It also provides the potential victim's location to the alerted friends, so they can respond or monitor the situation. The team plans to work on and develop "Alli", releasing it sometime next semester. They are also excited to get input from other students who care about this issue!