Howard University

March 30-31, 2018

Howard University's Official Annual Hackathon

[ Bison Hacks ]

740 15th Street NW Washington, DC 20005

March 30, 2018 6:30PM

March 31, 2018 6:30PM

For students in the DMV area and Howard University students

Things about Bison Hacks....

Inspiring new journeys and goals.

Bison Hacks aims to create an environment where students can share their ideas and bring them to reality with other students who are just as passionate.

Applying technology with problem solving.
Technology has the ability to make a huge impact in society and with the diverse backgrounds of our students
Supporting the community.
Veritas et Utilitas. As a way to fulfill our university motto "Truth and Service", this hackathon is a platform for students to serve their community.
Total Prize

Bootcamp Series

From March 20-23, 2018 Bison Hacks will have a series of mini-bootcamps to help prepare students who are attending their first hackathon. Through this series it will cover the basic tools and skills needed to have a wonderful experience.

Business Pitching Register March 20, 2018 6:30 PM Presented By Phim Her
Back-End 101 Register March 21, 2018 6:30 PM Presented By Brandon Coates
UI/UX Design Register March 22, 2018 6:30 PM Presented By Azzya Hopson
Front-End 101 Register March 26, 2018 6:30 PM Presented By Zuri Hunter


Johnny Austin

Gilbert Campbell



Frequently Asked Questions


A hackathon is a weekend long event where you go all the way from idea to prototype. At the end of BisonHacks, you will pitch your app, website, or whatever prototype you dreamed up, and compete for prizes! Hackathons are a great place to learn quickly and create something awesome.

BisonHacks is completely free for all registered participants! The food is free and all the awesome swag is free.

Absolutely! We have four delicious meals planned with plenty of snacks in between to keep you going for 24 hours.

Bring you, your computer, computer charger, toiletries (toothbrush and toothpaste), and anything else for your hack.

You're more than welcome at BisonHacks! We will have workshops during the event and mentors to help you through any troubles. So no matter what your skill level is, we will provide the resources to help you learn.


Unfortunately, there won't be free parking but only street parking.

Unfortunately, we will not be offering individual travel reimbursement this year.

To travel to this location the closest metros are Metro Center and McPherson Square.


Of course! This year, our hacker experience team has planned a bunch of fun events for attendees to relax. Stay tuned for more info!We will have a small activity in the midst of the event provided by Major League Hackathon.

Due to the security of the building it would be ideal that you stay for the entire event. However, if you need to leave and comeback please inform the Hackathon Organizers.


There can be a maximum of 4 students for a team.

That is fine, you have the option to work alone but we highly recommend that you work in a team.

Teams are encouraged to have a mix of business, engineering, and design oriented students. Diversity is encouraged. However, teams are required to choose a name.


This year's hackathon theme is to build a solution that will help improve the livelihood of the DMV community. The tracks that can be explored are the following:

Education | focuses on issues related to achievement of people of diverse ethnicities and economic backgrounds. Can include topics related to college readiness, access, completion and career guidance.

Health, Food & Wellness | focuses on issues related to the public health of people of diverse ethnicities and economic backgrounds such as improving wellness, increasing diversity in the medical profession, quality food access, and promoting diet and exercise.

Restorative Justice | seeks solutions related to preventing the criminalization of economically disadvantaged people, and strategies that empower ex-offenders to transition from the prison wall to successful members of the community, and provide valuable intervention resources to high school or college dropouts.

Environmental Sustainability | challenges participants to create an app or design solutions that preserves our environment and encourages personal practices such as recycling, resource sharing, garment collection and redistribution, energy efficiency, and water conservation.

Financial Inclusion & Literacy | apps help increase access for everyone to a range of quality financial services at affordable prices with convenience, respect, and dignity and includes the ability to understand how to save, credit card usage, and improve one's well-being through the conscious management of their personal and private finances and investments.

Team projects can be brainstormed beforehand, but code MUST be written at the event only. Code cannot be brought in from outside the event . Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. The project must contain a README within the repository that describes the project.

You can use any tool, API, service or language for your team project.

A 3 min presentation is required during judging, explaining and demonstrating the team’s application. In addition 1 minute will be allowed for questions.

All projects must be submitted into our Bison Hacks DevPost by March 31, 2018 at 2:00PM.

Your project can be a mobile application, web application or IoT project. The project must fit into the theme set for the event.

Projects must not contain any advertisement or solicitation. Projects must not contain anything that is or may be construed as:
  • Threatening, harassing, degrading or hateful.
  • Defamatory
  • Fraudulent or tortious
  • Obscene, indecent or otherwise objectionable; or (v) protected by copyright, trademark or other proprietary right without the express prior consent of the owner of such right;
Projects must not contain any material that would give rise to criminal or civil liability or that encourages conduct that constitutes a criminal offense; and Projects must otherwise comply in all respects with these Rules and the Policies.

Judging Criteria

We will have 4-5 judges for this hackathon. Our judges will be key members within the DC Tech Industry. Their backgrounds will cover technology, design, marketing and entrepreneurship. To learn more about the judges check them out here.

Business Model. Outside of technical impressiveness in the project, during this hackathon judges will be looking for how teams communicate customer validation (Who are your users?) and acquisition strategy (How will you attract your users?). Those two pillars will help validate the idea.

Impact. Our theme this year is to create a solution that will help improve the betterment of the DMV community. In this category we are looking for key factors that shows how the team's idea is scalable and give a clear measure as to how thier solution makes an impact on the user's life.

Technical. In the midst of the given 24 hours the judges will be looking for an established minimum viable product and a working prototype . This can range from a web application, mobile application or an IoT.

Design and User Experience. The teams final minimum viable product and prototype should achieve an engaging and memorable user experience. This means having a clear interface that is intuitive for users that come from different backgrounds.

Presentation. Teams will be rated base off presentation layout and articulation of their solution. This means how well was the team able to communicate their target audience, problems they are solving and how their product is the solution to that problem.


1st Place


2nd Place


3rd Place


Best Design & Innovation


We will have a series of sponsor category prizes for this year's hackathon. The announcement of those categories will be made on the day of the hackathon.


First! Thank you for wishing to sponsor our hackathon! To sponsor our event you can view our sponsorhsip package here and send an email to

The funds goes towards food, prizes and the swag for the hackathon. We go into more detail within our sponsorship package here.


Bison Hacks is open to Howard University students and anyone who is 18 years or older (we will be checking ID) and is currently enrolled in college or university with a valid student ID. International students are invited to apply and attend, but we cannot guarantee full travel reimbursement.

Due to the location we are only allowed to have attendees who have registered for the hackathon. Therefore, if you are interested attending this event please register at this link.

Howard University graduate student's are welcomed to register for this hackathon.


That is great! We welcome any help! To sign up as a mentor you can simply select "Mentor" on the form within the registration link here.

Although, it is ideal but it is not a requirement. We welcome anyone who have experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance and technology.

The role of a "Tech" or "Business" mentor is to be floating resources for the duration of the hackathon. This means helping teams define workflow, brainstorm ideas, problem solve and develop the final presentation. Mentors are free to communicate amongst themselves on questions of observations that occur. As organizers, we would be glad to gain some insight on technical issues, hackathon dynamics, or other Bison Hacks materials. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as a Bison Hacks mentor:

  • Be available for participants. Participants will contact mentors that they believe will be able to address their questions. Responding to teams questions is not a 24/7 responsibility, but please do check the communication channels and get back to the participants in a reasonable time frame. Within the Eventbrite link, there are 4-hour time slots, that mentors can choose.
  • Offer what you know. It is best to acknowledge that you are not well-versed in the subject than to point teams down a sub-optimal path. If you are unable to answer the question it is fine giving the team some online resources or refer them to another mentor that may specialize in the area of interest.
  • You are a mentor. It may be tempting but mentors are not allowed to join or contribute to a team. That includes writing a few lines of code or writing a couple bullets on their pitch decks. Providing pointers, references to examples and advice about design concepts are all in-bounds of the role of a mentor.
  • Share questions and answers. Bison Hacks is a learning hackathon and we feel that every team can benefit from questions asked and answered on team-to-mentor interactions. We strongly encourage to summarize questions/answers for posting to the whole group of participants. As we approach the kick-off date, the Bison Hacks Team will announce how information can be shared amongst participants and how mentors should publish to the communication channels.

Still have questions?


Bison Hacks is powered by Major League Hackathon

Major League Hacking 2018 Hackathon Season