Ursuline News

Ursuline Hosts Hackathon

Ursuline hosted its 5th Hackathon during Engineering Week with the theme, "Green Hack - Technological Innovation for a Sustainable Future." 

In 2015, the United Nations established the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals to as an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our atmosphere, oceans and forests.

Student Mission: Using your innovative and technological skills, develop a product solution that fosters and ensures a more sustainable future.  

Hackathon Results

First Place: Sarah Mathis, Ella Kate DeWitt, and Cora Mahaney (pictured with guest judges)

Innovation: "Breeze"

Breeze is meant to help with the growing problem of increased AC usage and the effects it has on the environment and economy, like substantial carbon emissions, massive energy consumption, and overall high cost. "Breeze" is an app you could download on your phone, which would connect with a sensor and semi-automated filter cleaning system inside the air conditioning unit itself. The sensor would send data to the app, where the user would be able to see the current state of the air conditioner, including unit capacity, filter status, and energy consumption while using color-coded displays to make it easy for the user to operate. Additionally, the app would also use an early-notice system in order to alert the user of a potential refrigerant leak or unit overheating. "Breeze" would be targeted to work with homeowners, but it could also benefit huge hospital-grade HVAC systems in order to help improve overall indoor air quality.

Second Place: Brooke Bergin, Kylie Hanners, and Zoe Hooper

Innovation: "Bear's Wares"

For many years, Ursuline's St. Ursula's Closet allowed students to give back to their community by donating "gently loved uniforms." In our journey to make sustainability more accessible, we recognized that while St. Ursula's Closet is a good first step to sustainability, by having set dates to donate, we lost more chances to give back to others at Ursuline. Our goal with our app, Bear’s Wares, is to create a year-round online St. Ursula's Closet allowing students to connect with others to donate uniforms as well as textbooks.

Third Place: Crystal Cantu, Julissa Guardado, and Natalie Volanto

Innovation: "Birdie"

Birdie is a camera powered by renewable energy that would be placed in endangered animal reserves or wildlife refuges. Typically, multiple Birdies will be placed throughout the park. Anyone is allowed to rent out Birdie for a certain period of time to learn more about animals out in the wild and also to do research on animals. The money used to rent out Birdie will give back to nonprofits dedicated to animal conservation and research. The Birdie app will send notifications to your phone if it detects movement in front of the camera. Birdie is amazing because animal research has been integral to the preservation of many endangered species. Many advancements are a result of research such as: vaccines for animals, ability to eliminate parasitism, and so much more.

Honorable Mention: Ana Meza, Macy Soderburg, and Ellen Muirheid

Innovation: "Fash-stainable"

Fash-stainable is a user-friendly app that works to eradicate fast fashion from the source: the consumer. By providing quizzes that inform your shopping decisions and provide solutions for old and unused clothes, ash-stainable works to clean out our closets of unsustainable fashion. There is also a social media aspect which allows users to share upcycling techniques and their favorite donation sites, as well as a personal chat feature which allows you to interact with creators. The app will partner with sustainable brands to feature their shops on the ideas page of our app. They will in turn feature our app as they advertise their clothes, benefiting both sustainable brands and fash-stainable. As you take the quizzes and post more ideas, you could become eligible for verification, building credibility for your posts, and informing other users of your experience. As the community of sustainable shoppers grows, the long-term environmental effects of fast fashion shrink.

Special thank you to our guest judges: Christian Genco, Entrepreneur (Founder of; Lydia Kickham-Dawes, Pepsico, Inc. (Procurement Manager); Briana Jones, Pepsico, Inc. (Marketing Manager); David Comer, Microsoft Corporation (Solution Sales Director); Tisha Henderson, Microsoft Corporation (Sr. Account Executive, US Education); and Reginald Benjamin, Microsoft Corporation (Sr. Surface Sales Specialist, US Education). 

Other Engineering Week activities included highlighting influential women in engineering, a locker challenge, straw rockets, a Fab Lab open house tinkering, and more!