Welcome, Western Michigan University students!


What is Hope in the Zoo?

Hope in the Zoo is a local solution challenge in the form of a 3-day hackathon that will take place from 19th to 21st December 2022. In alignment with our core value to support social good, we will be collaborating with Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes (KLF), the largest non-profit provider of food assistance in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This will be the first of many opportunities for you to solve real-world challenges provided by KLF, expand your portfolio, and further help their work.


In this Solution Challenge, you will have to choose one of the three tracks/challenges to solve which include:

1. How can you help improve KLF's supply chain? (More information: zip file)

2. How can you help improve KLF's inventory management system? (More information: zip file)

3. How can you help improve KLF's customer database? (More information: zip file)



Monday 12/19

[9:00 – 10:00 am] Opening Ceremony

[10:00 – 10:30 am] Team pitch and formation

[10:30 am] Start Hacking!

[2:00 – 3:00 pm] Git into it, Yuh! (GitHub workshop with Kedasha - Developer Advocate and Content Creator at GitHub, Inc.)

[6:00 – 6:30 pm] Roundtable sharing session

[8:00 – 8:30 pm] Mini Game (Among Us)

Tuesday 12/20

[10:00 – 10:30 am] Day 2 Welcome

[2:00 – 3:00 pm] Winning Your First Hackathon (Fireside chat with HackMIT'22 Award Winners)

[4:00 – 5:00 pm] Common Accessibility Pitfalls: Climbing Out, When You Fall In (Workshop on Web Accessibility with Chris DeMars - Google Developer Expert and Developer Advocate at Split Software)

[8:00 – 8:30 pm] Mini Game (WMU Bob Ross aka skribbl.io)

Wednesday 12/21

[10:00 – 10:30 am] Day 3 Welcome

[3:00 pm] Submissions close

[3:00 – 4:00 pm] Presentation preparation and troubleshooting

[4:00 – 5:00 pm] Presentations

[5:30 – 6:00 pm] Award Ceremony



What to Build

Design and build a prototype to solve one of the challenges provided by KLF. This Solution Challenge is open-ended, so you can use any type of technology to build your prototype. Some examples include: 

  • Analyze KLF's data to provide measurable metrics for their supply chain
  • Create an application to enhance the customer experience
  • Create an automation software to improve KLF's inventory system

PLEASE NOTE: You only have to choose ONE challenge from the three challenges provided. 


What to Submit

  • Submit your prototype via DevPost (here)
  • Give a presentation on how your prototype works during the presentation session. The presentation should include:
    • A functioning demo of your prototype
    • A general explanation of how your prototype works



What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is social coding event where programmers, designers, and developers collaborate to solve a problem.

Who can participate? Are there any prerequisites or required skills?

Any current WMU student is welcome to participate in this event. While coding and programming experience is a huge plus, teams will also need people with strong presentation skills and brilliant ideas.

Do I need a team?

While you do have the option of working alone, Hope in the Zoo is a team event so working with others is encouraged. There are a few ways to find teammates: You can pick your team from people you already know, find a team member via DevPost, or send a message under the Team Formation channel of our Microsoft Teams channel.

How do I communicate with my teammates?

Once you found your teammates, you will have to inform us and we will add you and your teammates to a private channel in our Microsoft Teams channel. From there, feel free to collaborate with your teammates and have fun hacking!

Where will the submission and presentation take place?

All presentations and judging will take place online in the "Presentation" channel of our Microsoft Teams channel. However, keep in mind that you still have to submit your work in DevPost before the submission deadline. For each team, only one team leader has to submit their work, and this team leader has to add their team members during submission. 

Is it mandatory to join all the events (fireside chat, GitHub workshop, etc) in the hackathon?

While you do have the option to not join these events, we highly recommend that you do because the speakers in these events are highly experienced and qualified, and they might be of help to you regarding your hackathon experience.

Is there anything that I need to prep?

Other than finding fellow brilliant minds with complementary skills to team up with, there is nothing that you need to prepare in advance.


For any questions, please feel free to send an email to weishun.tye@wmich.edu and we will be more than happy to help!


Hackathon Sponsors


First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson
Executive Director, Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes

Jeff Herman

Jeff Herman
Procurement & Inventory Manager, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes

Colin MacCreery

Colin MacCreery
WMU Computer Science Faculty Specialist

Dr. Kuanchin (KC) Chen

Dr. Kuanchin (KC) Chen
WMU Professor of Business Information Systems

Judging Criteria

  • 20% | Innovation
    How innovative / creative / unique is the idea?
  • 20% | Implementation
    Does it work? Is it implementable? Did the team achieve everything they wanted?
  • 20% | Technical Complexity
    Is the project technically impressive? Complex? How technically sophisticated / advanced / elegant was the solution?
  • 20% | Presentation and Communication
    Does the presentation clearly define and address the problem statement?
  • 20% | User Experience
    Did the team put thought into the user experience? How well designed is the interface?

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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