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Students! Win thousands in ‘Climate Solutions Hackathon’!

University of Utah undergraduate and graduate students—Do you have ideas that can help mitigate the impacts of climate change? Present your idea at the Climate Solutions Hackathon, a 24-hour team competition hosted by the Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy for a chance to win thousands of dollars. This program is about ideas, so no coding experience is required!

Wilkes Center Climate Solutions Hackathon

When: Friday, January 27 to Saturday, January 28

Who: University of Utah graduate and undergraduate students from any major can form a 3–5-person team; multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. You can select your team in advance or be placed on a team on the day of the competition. Only the first 250 students to register will be eligible to participate in person, although there will be a virtual option. Learn more and sign up now at

What: The Wilkes Center invites each team to propose an idea addressing one consequence of climate change: urban heat islands. The urban heat island effect describes how developed areas get much hotter than nearby rural areas.

Urban heat is a multifaceted issue that threatens public health, causes excess energy consumption, worsens air pollution, and can exacerbate violent crime. Extreme heat causes more deaths than any other weather-related event. As the world becomes more urbanized and temperatures become more dangerous, urban heat is an increasingly global problem.

Prizes: A panel of experts will award the top three teams the following prizes: 1st place wins $3,000; 2nd place wins $2,000; 3rd place wins $1,000.

Where: Teams can participate in person for an overnight stay at the Crocker Science Center where food, drinks, and swag will be provided. There is also an opportunity to participate virtually—check the website for more details. Teams will designate their preference (in-person or virtual) at the time of registration. Space is limited for the overnight stay!

How will it work?
Student teams will create a slide deck over twenty-four hours to submit to the judging panel. At the start of the competition, the judges will reveal specific challenge questions around the topic of urban heat that teams must address.  Then, over the next day, students will develop a new idea in one of five competition categories related to the theme. You could approach the challenge from any perspective—as a scientist, artist, engineer, city planner, venture capitalist, politician, start-up entrepreneur, community activist, or anything else in your imagination.

In-person teams at the Crocker Science Center will check in with their teams between noon – 7:00 pm on Friday. Students will be required to confirm that they are currently enrolled at the University of Utah and fill out liability forms. All participants will be subject to the Student Code of Conduct during the overnight stay at Crocker Science Center. Staff and faculty will be present in the building to help students with their ideas. Students are encouraged to bring whatever gear they need for the event – food and caffeine will be provided, as well as special guests to provide inspiration and support throughout the night!

Register HERE to sign up. Send any questions to