GottaGoHack: hackathons by students, for students!
While they are used to taking part in challenges outside the school (from DEFNET and iGEM to Design4Green), EPITA students can now also participate in “in-house hackathons” proposed by GottaGoHack, a young association at EPITA Paris dedicated to innovation. GottaGoHack organized its very first competition “by students, for students” last May: a challenge to create projects in 48 hours based on the “Student life: being 20 in 2020” theme.
Jeanne Morin is smiling. It is important to note that this first hackathon was particularly special for the 3rd year student (class of 2023), who is also co-founder and president of GottaGoHack. Together with the other members of this young entity, officially founded at the beginning of 2021“to promote innovation among students and allow them to develop their creativity through computer science,” Jeanne worked tirelessly for two months to set up the event and thus reach a goal that she has had since traveling to the other side of the world.” “It all started during our semester abroad,,” says the future engineer. A friend and I were in India, where we participated in our first hackathon. As we adored this experience, we said that if we were to set up an association at EPITA, we would want to create these types of events as well.“
In addition to the logistical aspect, including remote organization due to the health crisis, GottaGoHack chose a catchy theme for its inaugural challenge.
“We wanted a theme that was accessible to our participants because, for many of them, this would be their very first hackathon. They had to be able to understand the issues and related requirements easily and quickly. By choosing the theme of student life and being 20 years old in 2020, we couldn’t have done a better job of getting them involved, as the actual target was them!”
Creativity in the spotlight!
Bringing together more than thirty participants, grouped into 8 teams, the GottaGoHack event was a success, despite the constraints, which utterly delighted its organizers who were present on Discord and Twitch non-stop for 48 hours. “We are extremely happy,” says Jeanne. “The results are excellent, especially since the event was held remotely. It was our very first edition and we weren’t very well-known at the time!” Jeanne Morin was even more satisfied with the talent shown by the participating EPITA students and the three winning projects: “Do me a Favor” (3rd place), a web application that allows students to ask other students for help; “Alcoolib” (2nd place), a web and mobile application that enables students to obtain information about an alcohol-based beverage using a photo, a brand or the name of a bottle, providing recommendations as a wine merchant would; and above all “Once Student a Time” (1st place), a video game in “serious game” mode that allows you to delve into the life of a student in 2020 in order to raise awareness among the non-student population about the fate of young people who have too often been overlooked during the health crisis.
Developed by Quentin Abel-Marceau, Matthieu Camart, Sacha Hibon and Ronan Pedron (EPITA class of 2025), all 1st year students, “Once Student a Time” stood out, thanks to its concept and execution. “It was the most creative and unexpected project, yet also the one closest to the hackathon’s theme, by showing in concrete terms what it was like to be a student in 2020, by offering users the chance to slip into a student’s shoes”, says Jeanne. This approach won over the jury, which was made up of Lamia Derrode, director of EPITA Lyon, Loïc Blet, professor of algorithms and programming for preparatory classes at EPITA Lyon, Anne Dewilde, director of 3IE and Saliha Hadj Akli, the school’s head of quality, CSR and green plan.
Preview the “Once Student a Time” game here
A second hackathon in the works
The GottaGoHack members are already preparing for the future. While waiting to set up events of another kind or team up with incubators and other innovation players, they are already planning their next hackathon. “The theme will be revealed at the launch, as it was this year, and the event is scheduled for December 3, 4 and 5, this time in person if all goes well!” It is important to note that this second edition will not only be for EPITA students! “Eventually, we’d like our hackathons to be open to all students from engineering schools, computer science or other, but we’ll start with students from schools in the IONIS Group ” says Jeanne. Nonetheless, for the moment, we don’t plan on opening up these challenges to other types of schools because the goal here is to allow future engineers to take advantage of these 48 hours to develop other skills, such as design, communication, marketing, economics… These projects not only include creativity and techniques, but profitability, scalability, etc. Very interesting things to learn and experiment during a hackathon!“
Finally, for this next event, the GottaGoHack team will undoubtedly be able to count on the support of Héritage. “This association is our sponsor” explains Jeanne. “It brings together students from EPITA and Epitech and has a room in the basement of the Kremlin-Bicêtre campus, where students can spend time and relax. It also offers to help students organize events. For the hackathon, they let us use their premises so that we could host our 48-hour Twitch live and help the participants!“