Hacking Student Success: Sustainability Challenge

A hackathon is an event where students come together to form teams, brainstorm new ideas and create innovative projects around a specific theme. The Hacking Student Success: Sustainability Challenge is a three-part event series, where UCI students will have the opportunity to work together and develop sustainable solutions that have the potential to make a real impact for students, UCI, and the community. With over $65,000 in prizes available, this hackathon is open to undergraduate and graduate students of all majors, and you do not have to know how to code to participate. It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills, network with like-minded individuals, and make a difference in the world.

Hackathon Information and Rules


Please fill out the form below to solid your teams by 9pm on April 21st, 2023 .

Team Formation

  • Teams must be finalized by Friday, April 21, 2023. 
  • Teams will consist of a maximum of five UCI students, with at least three undergraduates per team. UCI graduate students can join teams, but will be capped at two per team.
    1. *We reserve the right to increase team sizes depending on event participation.*
  • Students should take diversity, gender balance, and the establishment of an inclusive team environment into account when forming teams.
  • UCI alumni are welcome to participate as mentors for the teams; however, alumni are not allowed to participate in the pitch competition or receive funding.
  • Teams should follow the UCI ANTrepreneur Center code of ethics (see below).

Business Ideas

  • Ideas for the contest can take any form (including services, products, technologies, etc.), so long as the idea aims to address one of the five Sustainability Hackathon tracks (air, energy, water, livable spaces, food/waste).
  • Students are encouraged to create original/novel solutions; however, existing ideas, technologies, frameworks, elements of previous research, and so on can be incorporated.

Video Pitches

  • After the Kickoff/Team Formation and Video Pitch Workshops, you and your team will have two minutes or less to create a video pitch.
  • Video pitches are due by 12:00 pm on Sunday, April 30, 2023
  • Teams can use slides during their pitch presentation, providing they meet the following criteria:
  1. Slides can include animations and GIFs.
  2. Slides must be submitted as PowerPoint presentations with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Google Slides and pdfs will not be accepted.
  3. Slides must be submitted by 12:00 pm on Sunday, April 30, 2023. Teams that fail to submit slides by this deadline will forfeit their right to use slides during their pitch presentations.
  • Video pitches will be judged, and 20 teams will be selected to move onto the Semi-Finals Pitch Event, which is in-person.

Semi-Finals Pitch Event

  • 20 teams will move onto the Semi-Finals Pitch Event, which is in-person.
  • The in-person event will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2023 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.
  • Five teams will be selected to move onto the next part of the Sustainability Hackathon competition.

Judging Criteria

  • Teams will be judged on their ability to clearly communicate the specific sustainability problem they are attempting to address, their solution, and the market for their idea. 
  • Rubric:






Problem: Did the speaker explain why the specific problem is important to solve? And is the problem oriented towards solving a problem involving student mental health? 5 4 3 2 1
Solution: Did the speaker explain the specific solution clearly and in a compelling way? 5 4 3 2 1
Market  Did the speaker explain a clear grasp of the target market? 5 4 3 2 1
Organization:  Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence? 5 4 3 2 1
Delivery:  Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact, and vocal range? 5 4 3 2 1

 Total Score:__________

Comments for the presenter:                                                                         


Special Prize Consideration  Circle which special elements were included in the idea? Team is incorporating Amazon Web Services (AWS) – from AWS  Team is using Sigma Computing’s cloud analytics platform plus the opportunity to interview for a paid Summer Internship – from Sigma Computing Team focused on Digital Health Equity – from the UC Davis Health + AWS Cloud Innovation Center


Awards and Prizes

  • We are giving away over $65,000 in prizes and funding!
  • Hacking Student Success will culminate in a pitch competition, where five teams will be awarded additional prizes of $5,000 and receive entry to SURP, a summer research program, to further develop their ideas.
  • In Fall Quarter 2023, the five teams will present their ideas to the UCI student body who will select the idea that will have the most positive impact on sustainability.
  • The winning team will receive at least $20,000 in funding to go towards creating their idea that will then be launched across campus for user testing and feedback.

UCI ANTrepreneur Center Code of Ethics

By participating in this event, you agree to do the following:

  • Respect your team members and other participants
  • Do your best to create an inclusive environment within your team
  • Uphold standards of academic honesty and integrity
  • Be supportive of team members and other participants
  • Have fun and enjoy yourself!

Remember, while a competition, this event is meant to unite campus around a meaningful cause. Please be courteous, respectful, and uphold UCI’s high academic and professional standards.


If any disputes arise regarding the selection of contest finalists or special prize winners, arbitration will be handled at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center with all involved parties present. ANTrepreneur Center leadership will work with the various parties to come to a fair and final resolution.


The UCI ANTrepreneur Center claims no equity rights on the ideas created or presented during the event. 

Teams that use UCI intellectual property in any way must disclose their use and understand UC Intellectual Property guidelines and regulations. Learn more about Intellectual Property at the University of California. If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact UCI Beall Applied Innovation for assistance.


The UCI ANTreprenuer Center is available to offer support both during and after this event. Students are encouraged to schedule a consultation with ANTrepreneur Center leadership by sending an email to antrepreneur@uci.edu. Students are also invited to drop in at any time for walk-in assistance. The UCI ANTrepreneur Center is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 am-5:00 pm. Visit us here.