Multidisciplinary teams will have 24 hours to learn from mentors, brainstorm, and generate solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Depending upon the problem, proposed solutions can involve hardware, software, art, text, and other materials. The 3 challenge categories are: Pollution, Renewable Energy, Conservation Technology.

EarthHacks will be hosted on Saturday, March 17 - 18, 2018.


Saturday, March 17
5:00 - 5:30 pm - Registration

5:30 - 6:30 pm - Opening Ceremony

6:30 - 7:00 pm - Dinner, Team Building and Meet with Mentors


10:00 pm - Design Thinking Workshop

Sunday - March 18
12:00 am - Midnight Snack and Tightrope Walk Challenge

8:30 am - Breakfast

10:00 am - DevPost Wrokshop

12:00 pm - How to give a Pitch 101

1:00 pm - Lunch

2:00 pm - Elevator Pitches Due on YouTube/Devpost

2:55 pm - HACKING ENDS

3:05 - 3:45pm - 1st Round of Judging

3:55 - 4:25 pm - Final Round of Judging

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm - Closing Ceremony


Participants: Individuals (over 18 years in age) and enrolled in a college or university



The three topics are: Pollution, Conservation Tech, and Renewable Energy.

Find All Challenges here


  • VCU's Rice Rivers Center in Charles City County hosts a significant portion of the Cap-to-Cap trail and much of this stretch lacks a watering station where cyclists can refill their bottles. The trail crosses a possible water source-- Kimages Creek--at the Center but the remote and heavily-canopied location has no electricity, nor the potential for solar power. The challenge is to create and test a low-tech and low maintenance system to recover and treat small volumes of water from a relatively clean (but untreated) natural source and render it potable for human (cyclists and pedestrians) consumption. The finished product would need to meet Virginia Department of Health standards for human consumption. The Center can help with some expenses and logistics. -- provided by Rice Center


  • 500+ students travel with The GREEN Program each year. Airplane emissions present an enormous problem by significantly contributing to our global carbon footprint. How might we adjust company operations to become a carbon neutral company? -- provided by Green Program


  • Microplastic pollution in freshwater -- provided by VCU CLSE


  • What solutions can we implement to help low-income populations who are disproportionately exposed to pollution and airborne allergens, increasing the incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases? -- provided by City of Richmond


Conservation Tech

  • Hawai’i is being swept with a fungal pathogen that is killing off the iconic ‘Ohi’a tree - by the time we know the tree is sick, it’s too late to save. How can we improve field identification and rapid response in remote areas? -- provided by Conservation X Labs


  • Amphibian populations have a silent killer: the chytrid fungus, which is wiping out frogs and salamanders in South America and elsewhere. How can we improve the chytrid test for individuals, and along transmission pathways? -- provided by Conservation X Labs


  • It takes almost as much money, time and effort to confirm the eradication of an invasive species from an island, than it does to actually eradicate the first 90% of the population. How can we more effectively confirm that invasive vertebrates have been eliminated from fragile and biodiverse island habitats? -- provided by Conservation X Labs


  • How do we address the increasing unease caused by coyotes living in/around the city’s park systems that is felt by some (not all) residents living near those areas? -- provided by City of Richmond


Renewable Energy

  • In March 2011, Fukushima, Japan, was hit by a 9.0 earthquake, resulting in a tsunami that caused one of the most devastating nuclear disasters in history, displacing more than 160,000 people. As a result, Japan has pledged to transition from Nuclear Energy to 100% Renewables by 2040. Japan will always be subject to similar natural phenomena, so how might we design systems and communities that are strong enough to resist such disasters and strive for a future powered by renewable energy? -- provided by Green Program


  • Iceland is well known for sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable resources - in fact, the country is able to produce far more electricity than is actually required for domestic consumption. However, the swift growth of their renewable energy sector has often proceeded at the expense of nature. In addition, Iceland’s transportation sector is still fully dependent on fossil fuels. How might we design new technologies and systems that: use the country's renewable resources in a way that is minimally invasive to nature, allow for a divestment from fossil fuels in the transportation sector? -- provided by Green Program


  • Implementation of solar panels into urban spaces -- provided by VCU CLSE


  • How can we make renewable energy accessible and financially feasible for low-income populations in our community?  -- provided by City of Richmond

Hackathon Sponsors


$3,780 in prizes

1st Place Prize: The Green Program Scholarship

2nd Place Prize: Sustainable Bamboo Speaker

3rd Place Prize: LuminAID

Honorable Mention: Power Banks!

Honorable Mention: Power Banks!

Pollution Category

Please select this if you are competing a challenge under the Pollution category.

Conservation Tech Category

Please select this if you are competing a challenge under the Conservation Tech category.

Renewable Energy Category

Please select this if you are competing a challenge under the Renewable Energy category.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Stephen Amoroso

Stephen Amoroso
Alumni Engagement & Government Relations Associate / The GREEN Program

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson
Director of Technology / The GREEN Program

Tom Quigley

Tom Quigley
Digital Makerspace Community Manager / Conservation X Labs

Jeremy Hoffman

Jeremy Hoffman
Climate Scientist / The Science Museum of Virginia

Margaret Karles

Margaret Karles
Experience Designer / VCU Brandcenter

Jesse Goldstein

Jesse Goldstein
Assistant Professor of Sociology / VCU Sociology

Erin Stanforth

Erin Stanforth
VCU Director of Sustainability / VCU Office of Sustainability

Stephen Fong

Stephen Fong
Associate Professor / VCU Chemical and Life Science Engineering

Rudy Krack

Rudy Krack
VCU CLSE Instructor

Judging Criteria

  • Awesomeness & Feasibility
  • Increment, Innovation & Originality
  • Impact, Potential & Sustainability
  • Presentation

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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