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UNHack 2022

Join us as we develop solutions to create a sustainable future.

November 4 – November 6

About UNHack

UNHack is a community event for all undergrad post-secondary and grade 11 & 12 high school students to come together for an unforgettable weekend to try and solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

You will take part in an experiential learning opportunity with the Lassonde School of Engineering BEST Program at York University, which will help you learn how you can solve some of the most important challenges facing our world.

We hope that this experience helps shift your perspective and encourages you to explore how you can address important global issues, reflect on your experiences, and challenge the existing norms and traditional career pathways.

Over the weekend, you will work to solve global challenges along with your team by following our structured design sprint methodology. With this methodology, you will be able to identify an important problem, develop a viable solution and build an implementation plan.

About UNHack

UNHack is a community event for all undergrad post-secondary and grade 11 & 12 high school students to come together for an unforgettable weekend to try and solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

You will take part in an experiential learning opportunity with the Lassonde School of Engineering BEST Program at York University, which will help you learn how you can solve some of the most important challenges facing our world.

We hope that this experience helps shift your perspective and encourages you to explore how you can address important global issues, reflect on your experiences, and challenge the existing norms and traditional career pathways.

Over the weekend, you will work to solve global challenges along with your team by following our structured design sprint methodology. With this methodology, you will be able to identify an important problem, develop a viable solution and build an implementation plan.

What’s in it for you?

  • Discover your passion
  • Learn how you can make a differience
  • Connect with like-minded people
  • Identify problems and develop solutions to solve it
  • Understand desirability, feasibility and viability concept
  • Foster teamwork and leadership skills
  • Build your network with students, mentors and advisors
  • Explore future career paths

A few takeaways from UNHack 2021 participants

Saimanoj Yarasi

(3rd year psychology, 1st computer science)

“I learned different ways to identify the core of an issue and taking steps to break it down to find the root cause of the problem which will possibly result into a better solution.”

Richard Balroop

(Computer Engineering, 2nd year)

“I’ve learned more about what it’s like to lead a team, being flexible with others, and making a decisive group decision that benefits the overall goal when there are several unclear options.”

Kenechukwu Oraka

(1st year, Software Engineering)

“Learning more about myself, and how I could actually keep up with the competition throughout the weekend is something I really loved. The previous me wouldn’t have even had the slightest idea that I would be able to keep up with the activities especially on a weekend. I believe I have gained many useful skills in life and taught me never to give up and underestimate my abilities.”

Maria Flores

(Mechanical Engineering, 2nd year)

“My biggest takeaway I feel was seeing what a difference collaboration and teamwork can make when problem solving. Often times I tend to shy away from collaborative work, however this experience allowed me to break away from that and really experience the benefits of brainstorming as a group and learning how to listen to my group members. Especially since a big part of engineering is collaborating with others, I think this will benefit me as I take on future project in my career.”

Ryan Hunter

(Grade 12th, OSSD)

“My biggest takeaway was learning how to properly manage a team that is working toward a project with a fast-approaching deadline.”

Nessanth Kamalanathan

(1st year, Engineering)

“This experience gave me a first-hand insight into how engineering can be applied to solve real life issues. The process of finding and fixing the problems we may have in campus life proved to be challenging as an aspiring engineering, but enlightening.”

What’s the Design Sprint?

Learn about SDGs

Challenges

How might we improve access to affordable healthy food options on Campus?

Proposed by BEST
How might we increase the sustainability of food offered on campus? Either in terms of the food, or how it is prepared and served.

Proposed by BEST
How might we keep students engaged with mental health and well-being supports online at a post-secondary institution?

Read more from SCHW
How might we encourage those on campus to engage in more physical activity in order to promote healthy lifestyles?

Read more from NSTAMP
How might we encourage more people to take up roles in healthcare in a post-pandemic world?

Read more from NSTAMP
How might we increase community connections to foster students’ academic and professional success?

Read more from BEST
How might we incorporate the advantages of online education into the in-person learning environment?

Read more from NSTAMP
How might we make our homes more sustainable from an energy perspective (used for heating and cooling)?

Read more from Prof. Krol
How might we increase access to post-secondary education for students who could not normally afford to attend university?

Read more from BEST
How can fair trade be brought into service for greater systemic change (for York University and its community)?

Read more from Sustainability Office
How might we lower our dependence on bottled water but still have the convenience of water in public spaces?

Read more from Prof. Krol
How might we increase composting and processing of organic waste at a postsecondary institution?

Read more from Sustainability Office
How might we reduce your carbon emissions that occur as part of your current lifestyle as a student?

Read more from Sustainability Office
How might York University and its communities adapt existing processes to reduce costs of carbon surcharges and the negative image of carbon use?

Read more from Centre for Human REI

Join as a mentor!

Mentorship is a key part of the Experiential Learning activities as it provides the most value possible to students as they gain invaluable advice from an experienced person, and build their professional networks.

Mentors reinforce the Design Sprint process, facilitate teamwork and guide students through the process.

By becoming a mentor, you gain valuable experience, build meaningful relationships with other students and will enjoy interacting with aspiring entrepreneurs.

Frequently Asked Questions

The event is designed for undergraduate university and college students as well as grade 11 and 12 high school students. UNHack is a great experiential learning opportunity that provides a safe space for you to tackle challenges, meet new people, learn new processes and explore your passions and strengths.

Note: If you are not a post-secondary or high school student, please contact the organizers to see how you might be able to take part in this event.
We would like students to address challenges that are aligned with the UN Sustainability Goals (UNSGDs). Participants can choose any challenge that aligns with the UNSDs and tackle it as a team over the weekend.
In addition, we will have some specific challenges available from our sponsors/partners. You can choose your own challenge or use one of the available challenges (e.g. YorkU SDG challenges).
One of best parts about taking part in UNHack is meeting others who are inspired to change the world; who knows, you might meet your new best friend. So, don’t worry – you do not have to come with a team. However, if you do have a team, you are welcome to participate with them.
A few days prior to the event, you will receive a link to provide some basic information about yourself and identify which of the UN Sustainability Challenges you would like to work on. After the opening ceremonies, you will be invited to join a group of participants who want to work on the same challenge.
Projects are judged based on the following criteria:
• Innovativeness,
• Desirability,
• Feasibility,
• Viability,
• Impact on sustainability,
• Presentation quality
The first place: $1000; second place: $500 and third place: $300.

In addition, the winning teams will be awarded to join the BEST Lab to access various resources such as mentorship, coaching, and connections to take their projects to further steps.
For information and challenges in last year’s event:

UNHack 2020
The event is designed for undergraduate university and college students as well as grade 11 and 12 high school students. UNHack is a great experiential learning opportunity that provides a safe space for you to tackle challenges, meet new people, learn new processes and explore your passions and strengths.

Note: If you are not a post-secondary or high school student, please contact the organizers to see how you might be able to take part in this event.
We would like students to address challenges that are aligned with the UN Sustainability Goals (UNSGDs). Participants can choose any challenge that aligns with the UNSDs and tackle it as a team over the weekend.
In addition, we will have some specific challenges available from our sponsors/partners. You can choose your own challenge or use one of the available challenges (e.g. YorkU SDG challenges).
One of best parts about taking part in UNHack is meeting others who are inspired to change the world; who knows, you might meet your new best friend. So, don’t worry – you do not have to come with a team. However, if you do have a team, you are welcome to participate with them.
The $10 fee will be refunded back to the original method of payment upon completion of UNHack and Reflection Survey Submission. The fee is to ensure student commitment because there’s quite a lot of teamwork activities during the event that require your full commitment so you can create a great project in collaboration with your team.
Projects are judged based on the following criteria:
• Innovativeness,
• Desirability,
• Feasibility,
• Viability,
• Impact on sustainability,
• Presentation quality
The first place: $1000; second place: $500 and third place: $300.

In addition, the winning teams will be awarded to join the BEST Lab to access various resources such as mentorship, coaching, and connections to take their projects to further steps.
Watch these videos to know about what UNHack Participants had to say in previous years.

UNHack 2021
UNHack2020
Yes, the event will be held fully in person at Bergeron Building. Participants are expected to attend the activities in person.

UNHack 2021
UNHack2020

Have questions? We’ve got answers!