Outstanding Community Service Award 2009-2010

Stanford ACM submission for ACM Chapter Excellence Community Service Award 2009

Chapter Homepage: http://acm.stanford.edu
Chapter Officers:

Description:

The Stanford ACM chapter is the premier student computing society, creating a unique environment in which innovation, creativity, and collaboration will thrive. It enables talented and motivated students to come together and discuss emerging trends in cutting edge technology, cooperate on hobby projects, and create a welcoming atmosphere of innovation.

Chapter Goals:

1. Build bridges between academia and industry.

2. Create a forum for students to share research interests.

3. Provide a place where students with diverse intellectual backgrounds will have the opportunity to collaborate on novel projects in computer science and engineering.

Number of students that take computer science and related courses: There were about 8,000 enrollments in computer science classes last year (that includes duplicates). I asked the CS department and the “related courses” part is so vague I don’t think it can be answered.

Type of majors of chapter members: computer science and electrical engineering

Essay:

This year, the Stanford ACM (http://acm.stanford.edu) partnered with Stanford Dance Marathon (http://dm.stanford.edu) and organized the first ever Stanford Dance Marathon Hack-A-Thon (http://dm.stanford.edu/hackathon) which took place on Valentine’s Day. The San Francisco Chronicle blogged about the event here http://links.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/techchron/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=35842. The idea originated from brainstorming ways to increase computer science student participation in public service. The belief was that computer science students participate in Dance Marathon and public service in general at lower rates than other majors because the projects available do not interest them or utilize their skills which are very valuable. Therefore, we strived to create a public service opportunity that would interest computer science students and utilize their talents and brilliance. What we came up with was the Hack-A-Thon. Instead of dancing for 24 hours, 34 “hackers” hacked for 24 hours on non-profit software projects during Dance Marathon. In addition, Yahoo! sponsored the Hack-A-Thon and the money was donated to the Dance Marathon beneficiaries Partners in Health (http://www.pih.org) and Ellipse (http://ellipse650.org).

There were five non-profit projects worked on:

  • OpenMRS (http://openmrs.org/) - an open source electronic medical records system used by Partners In Health (http://www.pih.org), which provides healthcare to impoverished areas around the world. Hackers fixed bugs and implemented new features.

  • Kiva (http://kiva.org) - a microfinance institution for underserved areas around the world. Hackers utilized their newly released API (http://build.kiva.org/) to create a Facebook application and also created an MMS gateway to process messages sent back by Kiva Fellows from around the world containing GPS data and pictures.

  • Ellipse (http://ellipse650.org/) - a non-profit in San Mateo which provides counseling, referral, and food pantry services for HIV+ clients in the area. Hackers created the new website which can be seen at http://ellipse650.org using the content management system Drupal (http://drupal.org/) to allow for easy editing by employees with no HTML knowledge or web development experience. Hackers also integrated a Google Calendar into the website along with an HIV/AIDS resource directory (http://www.ellipse650.org/node/83) that uses Google Maps.

  • FACE AIDS (http://faceaids.org/) - a student campaign to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Hackers created the FACE AIDS Have a HAART Facebook application (http://apps.facebook.com/haveahaart).

  • The Extraordinaries (http://theextraordinaries.org/) - a mobile phone project that enables on-demand and on-the-spot micro-volunteer opportunities. Hackers added address book functionality to their iPhone application and worked on creating a platform for volunteers to tag and identify photos by integrating with the Flickr API (http://www.flickr.com/services/api/).

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