You [students] should try it out for yourself. Even if you don’t win, I’m sure you will take something from the experience.

Jeneen Richards

IGNITE co-hosted an annual hackathon, IGNITE Your Future, at the Barret Centre for Technology Innovation on Sept. 23, 2023. This hackathon offered a valuable opportunity for students to enhance their essential skills, including teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

This year’s hackathon focused on improving the student experience, with 37 students participating in teams. Each team was assigned a different category related to various aspects of student life, such as the academic journey and campus well-being.

The event kicked off with a workshop day at North Campus, where students learned about their themes and collaborated with mentors from IGNITE, Humber College staff, and external partners. Together, they brainstormed, identified challenges, and received the necessary training to develop their innovative ideas. It was a day filled with creativity and collaboration.

The theme

Group of students at the IGNITE Your Future hackathon at the Barret Centre for Technology Innovation.
Photo credits: IGNITE

Meet SAJAJ, the winning team that pitched the best challenge and came up with best the solution among all participants. The dream team consisted of Aisha Shaikh, Alhamdulillah Durojaiye, Jeneen Richards and Srishti Ratnu.

Assigned to the “lifestyle” category, the team had to analyze everything from transportation and housing to laundry and food. After a productive Saturday, the group identified that transportation is a big issue for Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber students.

“The problem that we identified is that many Humber students find it difficult or have challenges commuting to school on a daily basis, because the TTC is always delayed or sometimes changes its route,” Jeneen Richards said.

Richards emphasized that this commuting challenge not only affects students’ study time but also hinders their participation in extracurricular activities.

The solution

Jeneen Richards at the IGNITE Your Future Hackathon.
Photo credits: IGNITE

The solution presented by SAJAJ was to implement an exclusive shuttle bus service for students to get them to and from the campus.

“(It) basically would be like the TTC, but for our students, they would have a bus pass that they show to enter the bus,” she said.

The team knew that students value comfort and reliability. That’s why having a shuttle bus that will always be available and on time would make their commuting process easier.

“Fully comfortable Humber shuttles, not like the TTC buses. Reclining chairs, tables so that they [students] can work between campus commute, Wi-Fi, security cameras,” Srishti Ratnu elaborated on their idea.

The ‘how’

SAJAJ group interacting at the IGNITE Your Future hackathon.
Photo credits: IGNITE

To do great in the hackathon, critical skills are necessary. Both group members say that being open-minded and an active listener are key, as people will be sharing unique thoughts with different perspectives.

Organization and presentation skills are also an asset. Despite the task of creating a solution, students have to convince the judges that their solution is the best.

Ratnu said that the experience was enlightening to her. She said that her love for networking and the opportunity to learn different things are the highlights of the event.

“I had so much fun working, not just with my group, but also the other people I was talking to. I love networking, it was pretty exciting,” Ratnu said.

Richards had an amazing experience at the IGNITE Your Future hackathon and encourages everyone to join the next edition.

She emphasizes that students shouldn’t be afraid to participate because it’s a fantastic learning opportunity.

“Although it’s a challenge, it has great benefits. It’s crucial to school life and for career path. Even if you don’t win, I’m sure you will take something from the experience,” she said.

SAJAJ group interacting at the IGNITE Your Future hackathon.
Photo credits: IGNITE

The IGNITE Your Future hackathon brought students together to address real-life student challenges. The SAJAJ team’s winning proposal for a dedicated shuttle bus service stands out for its comfort and convenience. Their innovative solution promises to improve the daily commute for many students. This event showcased the power of innovation in shaping the future of education and student life. Congratulations to the SAJAJ team for their distinctive and impactful idea!

Keep an eye on our Instagram @shareignite for updates on our next event!

Would you like to know how a life of a student-athlete looks like? Check out our other profile article!

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