BeckySweger's blog

Hack for Western Mass: Follow-Up on 6/28

As promised, Hack for Western Mass will reconvene on Saturday, 6/28. We’ll be in Holyoke again, this time at Brick Coworkshop from 10:30 AM to noon

Why Is This Important?

If you’re still working on your hackathon project (and according to Github, many of you are), share your progress on Saturday. If you’re seeking other ways to pitch in or have ideas for collaborating throughout the year, Saturday’s your chance. Or if you weren’t able to join us for the hackathon but want to see what it was all about, come on by.

Hack for Western Mass – Testify!

Prison Policy group presenting at Hack for Western Mass

If you’re on the fence about coming to Hack for Western Mass, maybe some of the people who joined us last year can nudge you in the right direction. Here’s what they had to say.

Do I Have to be a Programmer?

When I tell people about Hack for Change, a common response is, “That sounds really cool, but I’m not a programmer!”

Think of a hackathon like a movie. Actors are only one part—you also need directors, producers, screenwriters, editors, production designers, costume designers, sound engineers, and art directors. Actors alone cannot make a movie, and programmers alone cannot make a hackathon.

So what are some of the non-technical roles on a hackathon project team?

National Priorities Project Creates A Better Budget Map

Jason Leveille wrote about his experience at Hack for Western Mass over on the National Priorities Project blog. Over the weekend, he and some teammates brainstormed about the best way for NPP to ditch Flash-based maps and provide better ways of displaying the local impact of federal spending. Jason also notes the he was a first-time civic hacker and is already looking forward to the next time around.


After several weeks of outreach, we’ve solicited a great collection of hackathon challenges from local organizations. They truly represent Western Massachusetts, and they show exactly why civic hacking has value beyond the big city.