Posts by Emily Ann Hull

Emily is a senior journalism major at Ithaca College's Roy H. Park School of Communications from Stamford, NY. She currently works at Aggrego in Chicago, IL. There, she assists in managing producing entertainment content. Emily has previously interned at Townsquare Media in Oneonta, NY, Amref Health Africa in London, UK and in Syracuse, NY as part of Advance Local's flagship internship program. She is also a former staff writer, assistant and editor of The Ithacan, Ithaca College's award-winning, sturdent-run newspaper where she won a 2013 New York Press Association award for best sports coverage. Emily has worked as a writer/editor at Ithaca College's Office of Marketing Communications where her writing has been published in IC View and Fuse. She has a minor in sport studies and enjoys cooking, eating and Amy Poehler. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyAnnHull.

Ithacash, new local currency, set to launch in May

"Ithacash" or "Ithaca Dollars" will go into use in May.

“Ithacash” or “Ithaca Dollars” will go into use in May.

An Ithacan reaches into his or her pocket. They are about to buy a movie ticket at Cinemapolis, but instead of grabbing a United States issued $10 bill, they reach for their phone. They pull up a new text message, which is linked to their online Ithacash account, type “Pay Cinemapolis 9.50” accompanied by their individual pin number and press send.

Ithacash or “Ithaca Dollars”, a new regional currency, will debut this May. Founder Scott Morris originally came to Ithaca in hopes of exploring what was happening with Ithaca Hours, a similar system that revolutionized local currencies when it launched in 1991.

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NYS maple producers face delayed start due to frigid temps and snowfall

Dan Beasley, of Sweet Trees Maple, hammers a tap into place.

Dan Beasley, of Sweet Trees Maple, hammers a tap into place.

Two men, dressed head to toe in Carhartt jumpsuits, trudge through knee-deep snow as powdery flakes fall steadily from the sky on a cloudy March Sunday morning. One, the son, carries a DeWalt power drill and plastic clear-handled hammer in hand, the other, the father, follows steadily behind.

This day will be just like any of the other three days the duo has been out in the woods this season. Snow fills their boots and the cold bites their faces, as they struggle to make it through the 17-acres of their 170-acre property, tapping trees for this year’s maple syrup season.

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Karl Vonderhyde hangs a pot

Cornell program receives new funding to support veteran-owned farms of NYS

Karl Vonderhyde hangs a pot

U.S. Army veteran and worker Karl Vonderhyde hangs a plant.

The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, a part of the Cornell Small Farms Program, was recently awarded a $712,500 grant through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The new funding will be used to create community-based resources for two underserved groups, veterans and “advanced beginners” who have been farming anywhere from four to seven years.

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Local Native Americans highlight own plight

By Emily Hull and Jordan Jarrett

Paige Bethman poses with the Iroquois flag.

Paige Bethman poses with the Iroquois flag.

As November marks Native American Heritage Month, Indigenous members of the Cornell University and Ithaca College communities are collaborating to challenge stereotypes about Native American identities, with a “Re-Thinking Thanksgiving” presentation on November 18 and 20.

Perry Ground, a traditional storyteller and project director of the Native American Resource Center for the Rochester City School District, will present research on the origins of Thanksgiving and its reference Native Americans. The first presentation, sponsored by the Ithaca College Native American Student Association (NASA), will take place on November 18, followed by another at The Space at Greenstar on Nov. 20 which will be co-sponsored by the Ithaca Children’s Garden, the Multicultural Resource Center and Cornell University’s American Indian Program.

“I work with students all the time and nearly every day a student will ask me in November, ‘do you celebrate Thanksgiving?’” Ground said. “They have the misconception that we live in the same way that we did hundreds of years ago.”

Ground said his research confirms that while Native Americans and English settlers did share a feast at the time, the “pilgrim and Indian” story as it is known today was founded as a religious celebration with no relation to the feast.

A lack of proper acknowledgement is one issue Native Americans are faced with today, said Cornell University sophomore Jamie Peterson, of Ottawa heritage, on Thursday at a Native American Identities Panel hosted by NASA.

“There’s a stigma that Native Americans are a dying breed,” Peterson said. “We’re still here. There’s still so many people identifying with it.”

In addition to misconceptions, contemporary Native Americans face poor access to education, Ithaca College Anthropology professor Michael Taylor, who is Seneca, said during the panel.

“Sometimes there isn’t a large enough pool of young Native people who are ready to attend college,” Taylor said, adding “we can see a paradox here that many of the New York State or SUNY and private schools do have Native American studies programs, where you can take courses on these cultures and peoples.”

Of the 3,261 first-year students enrolled at Cornell for Fall 2014, only .6 percent identify as Native American or Hawaiian. At Ithaca College only nine of the 6,587 undergraduate students identify as Native American.

 Although few Native American students are present in local higher education institutions, New York State is home to eight federally recognized nations, including the Cayuga Nation that occupied central New York.

Currently, there are almost 600 indigenous nations in the United States. Despite the variety of ethnicities, Native Americans are thought of as having the same culture, Ground said.

“We have different languages, different histories, different cultural heritages and different religions,” he said. “When we say Native Americans we are really talking about a race of people, when we say someone is Onondaga, Cherokee, Navajo, Hopi or Lakota, then we would be talking about their ethnicity.”

Through the upcoming presentation and discussions, Ground and other Indigenous community members hope to represent Natives and shed light on their contemporary issues.

Click this link to see an interactive map of the tribes of New York State.

See this post on Ithaca Week.

Cortaca 2014: SUNY Cortland creates campaign to combat last year’s chaos

By Emily Hull and TinaMarie Craven

SUNY Cortland's football team practices before Saturday's game.

SUNY Cortland’s football team practices before Saturday’s game.

SUNY Cortland’s ‘Take Back Cortaca’ campaign, a part of the Cortaca Commission, will begin this week in an effort to prevent the mayhem that occurred during last year’s football contest between the Red Dragons and the Ithaca College Bombers.

“We’re aiming at restoring Cortaca to what we feel it should be and discouraging a lot of the activity that lead to the problems last year,” Fred Pierce, SUNY Cortland public relations director and member of the Cortaca Commission’s Task Force, said.

More than 30 people were arrested and charged with misdemeanors and felonies including driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana after thousands of students stormed into the streets, flipping cars and jumping from windows during the 55th-annual Cortaca Jug game. The riots occurred on Nov. 16, 2013 in the city of Cortland, put the game’s future in jeopardy when community members called for the game to be cancelled.

In the immediate aftermath of the riots, SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum and city of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin created the Cortaca Commission. The 21-member team’s goal was to formulate a plan to prevent a similar situation in the future.

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“What the commission discovered is there really are two Cortacas,” Pierce said. “There’s Cortaca Jug, the football game and the campus event we’re all proud of and there’s Cortaca the excuse to party and do stupid things. That is what we’re aiming at stopping.”

Pierce said this year, Cortland officials will be monitoring Cortaca related content on social media. Social media posts contributed to last year’s extreme behavior and the increasingly rowdy behavior the partiers displayed, making the posts about the Cortaca celebrations go viral on the internet. Popular websites like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed posted articles about the Cortaca riots making the local event an international story.

“We’re all looking at the social media now,” Pierce said. “So students who think its fun to show photos of themselves or their friends passed out in snow banks or in various stages of undress, or doing keg stands, when somebody tweets something, we’re going to make a phone call.”

Since Nov. 2013, the Task Force has worked to control the parties that are expected at this year’s game by adding a city social host ordinance, increasing police presence and requesting officers from the New York State Liquor Authority to investigate underage sales within the Cortland area. SUNY Cortland could not release numbers on how many officers that are expected on game-day, but said several other law enforcement agencies will be assisting University and City Police.

SUNY Cortland senior Kieran Barber said he’s seen more of a police presence in the city after the Cortaca riots, especially during Monroe Fest, a SUNY Cortland springtime party weekend.

“The task force and law enforcement have definitely been improving their tactics in preparing for parties,” Barber said. “During Monroe Fest, there were cops on the street at 8 in the morning and looking at houses just to make sure. They’re definitely stepping up their game to be more vigilant and asserting their control.”

According to Pierce, however, the university understands they are not going to wipe drinking at Cortaca out completely. The commission thought it was important to provide alternatives for students to take part in.

An open-mic night, Thursday Night Football viewing party, pep rally, pre-game carnival and dance concert following the game, featuring White Panda will be part of the week leading up to the Nov. 15 game. The concert will also be raffling off $20,000 worth of prizes, including iPads, GoPro cameras, MacBook Pros and gift cards. To win the prizes, however, students must be present at the event.

“The executive board discussed and asked around as to what people thought would be the best solution and we came up with the concert,” SUNY Cortland Student Government Association president Michael Doris said. “We got the funding from the reserves we’ve had and never have touched, but we qualified this as an emergency.”

Barber said students didn’t understand just how big the blow-up would be from their actions that day, reaching media outlets in France and New Zealand.

“None of the students realized we were part of a riot until that night,” he said. “As a one time thing it was notable, but we definitely shouldn’t make a trend out of it. It’s an insult to the community and we shouldn’t use it as a method to get attention.”

Follow this link to view a timeline of events following Cortaca 2013. 

Local Catholic respond to Pope Francis’ evolution comments

By Emily Hull and Sally Young

The Cornell Catholic Community worships during their Wednesday night mass Oct. 29.

The Cornell Catholic Community worships during their Wednesday night mass Oct. 29.

The Ithaca Catholic community has responded unsurprised to Pope Francis’ Oct. 28 statements aligning the teachings of creationism with the theories of evolution and the ‘Big Bang.’

Francis declared that evolution and the Big Bang are real while speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at The Vatican, going against his predecessor, Benedict XVI’s beliefs on creationism. Francis explained that the two methods of thought are not incompatible but in fact “require” each other.

Ithaca Catholic Deacon Mike Mangione said he was not shocked by Francis’ comments because of the way Christians are supposed to interpret the writings in the Old Testament.

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“Was there a single man and woman put on this earth as Adam and Eve?” Mangione said. “The Bible tells us that that’s what happened but that doesn’t mean that’s exactly what happened.”

The Catholic Church has long been considered an anti-science institution, a troublesome relationship that started in 1663, when Galileo Galilei was suspected of heresy by the Inquisition after his statements about heliocentrism.

Dr. William Hamant of Desales University’s Department of Philosophy and Theology said he believes the general public feels science and religion are at odds with each other, but that’s not necessarily true.

“There’s a tension between a certain understanding of evolution or rather an evolution that would make theological claims about the meaning of that unfolding and certainly the church would  reject certain takes in that regard,” Hamant said. “But evolution is simply a description of the process by which nature unfolds.It’s not incompatible at all with Catholic teaching.”

Cornell Catholic community parishioner Rebecca Baldwin said she has always struggled with the theories of evolution and creationism because of her studies in the field of science.

“Yes [the Bible] says ‘God did this in day one,’ but nobody ever said that 24 hours is a day for God,” Baldwin said. “I think that God did cause everything to happen but it doesn’t necessarily go against evolution theory. I think that they very much can work together and people are too closed-minded to see that sometimes.”

Mangione has been teaching the creation story as an evolutionary process that was begun by God and has come forward to where humankind is at today. He said he has held these beliefs since he did a high school research paper on the topic nearly 50 years ago.

Father Jeffrey Tunnicliff of the Ithaca Immaculate Conception Church said via email that Francis’ comments are not a change in church teaching and that there have been “no changes issued at this time.”

“The fact that Pope Francis acknowledges the Big Bang is more a sign that it is not a theory that directly contradicts our faith but supports it in some ways on a philosophical level,” Cornell Catholic community parishioner, Christian Gomez said. For him, Pope Francis is trying to reduce the perceived gap between science and religion, which doesn’t exist for many Catholics today as it has previously. “There is a distinction between the physical world and its creator and that is fundamental Catholic doctrine.”

The biblical literalist movement is relatively new, only about 200 years old, according to Carla Marceau, a St. Catherine’s of Siena Parish parishioner and student of theology. Marceau said this group has different beliefs than others in the Catholic Church.

“If you are a biblical literalist, you say ‘it says here that God created the world in six days,’” she said. “I’m supposed to understand that the way I would understand it if I read it in the newspaper or a science book. But that’s not the way the Bible works and not the way Catholics understand the Bible.”

“A conservative looks at what’s always been understood and tries to explain it in a new way,” Mangione said of Francis’ reign as leader of the Catholic Church thus far. “What I’ve learned in my education in becoming a deacon is that the truths of the church don’t change and unless they’re put into the words of the present unless they are explained again, they fail to have meaning.”

Follow this link to see an interactive graphic of the Pope’s quotes. 

See this post on Ithaca Week.

Transgender community faces challenges in Central New York

By Emily Hull and Jessica Corbett

Author Elliott DeLine reads from his new boot, Show Trans, Oct. 15 at Buffalo Street Books in downtown Ithaca.

Author Elliott DeLine reads from his new boot, Show Trans, Oct. 15 at Buffalo Street Books in downtown Ithaca.

Syracuse-based author Elliott DeLine read excerpts from Show Trans on Oct. 15 at Buffalo Street Books in downtown Ithaca. The novel chronicles a difficult period of DeLine’s journey with sexuality when he transitioned from female to male nearly five years ago. Show Trans, DeLine’s latest book, will be available on Amazon for Kindle download on Oct. 31. A paperback copy of the book, which the author self-published, was released Oct. 1.

In the book, he addresses the difficulty of being a transperson in Central New York, including limited access to hormones and adequate health care, and said he wants other transgender people to feel a part of a larger community. “I want them to take away whatever they personally need to take away from it. I hope it makes other people going through similar experiences feel less alone,” DeLine said.

A 2011 UCLA study says that approximately 700,000 Americans identify as transgender. No current governmental statistics exist because the U.S. Census Bureau does not offer citizens the option to identify as transgender on the decennial survey. Maureen Kelly, vice president for programming and communications at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes said research in 2009 revealed a definitive absence of care and resources available to transgender people.

“We heard stories of transgender people driving eight hours round trip to Philadelphia to receive routine preventative health care and hormones to support their transition,” Kelly said. “We knew we needed to do something to address this need.”

In 2009, Kelly founded Out for Health, a program that provides outreach to LGBT people, their health care providers and the community at large. The program commissioned research to understand the challenges LGBT individuals face in the Ithaca area. DeLine echoed Out for Health’s commission results.

“It’s a ridiculously difficult process to transition, and it is not this way in cities like New York and Philadelphia,” he said. “Trans people need the same resources as everyone else, but we often go without them.”

On Oct. 20, The Advocate, a gay news, LGBT rights, politics and entertainment magazine, published an opinion editorial by Kelly commending Ithaca, New York, as a “haven” for transgender people. Kelly noted in her editorial that the transgender preventative care and hormone program opened in winter 2013, offering healthcare, information, hormones and support for transpeople in the area.

Additionally, Out for Health currently provides medical appointments, family planning, STD information and youth groups to citizens of Ithaca, Elmira, Corning, Hornell and Watkins Glen. Although there has been an increase in support services, Jason Hungerford, a board member of the Ithaca LGBT Task Force, said the area still lacks a definitive health care for the trans community.

“There are not enough doctors who are even willing to have a trans person as an ongoing primary care patient,” Hungerford said. “That’s not even touching on the topic of health insurance for a trans person.”

The task force was founded in the 1980s to advocate on behalf of the LGBT community for non-discrimination laws in Tompkins County and the City of Ithaca. In October 2013, the task force moved to an inactive status, responding to other programs that had begun serving the community. However, Hungerford also noted the fairness and inclusion gays and lesbians have benefited from still has not fully reached the trans community.

“Throughout the country it is still very taboo in many ways to be transgender,” DeLine said. “Although I do believe that is changing, there are more options and more resources available in metropolitan areas.”

DeLine hopes sharing his story will encourage readers to build a stronger understanding of the trans community’s struggles.

“There’s not one trans experience, not one right way of doing it,” he said. “My main goal is to make people feel validated and empowered to write or talk about their own experiences. I want people outside the transgender community to see us as people, and see the way all forms of oppression overlap.”

See this post on Ithaca Week.

On-demand app, Minibar, delivers alcohol to Ithaca customers

By Emily Hull and Lyndsay Isaksen

Elliot Castillo, 22, orders from Top Shelf Liquors via the Minibar Delivery app.

Elliot Castillo, 22, orders from Top Shelf Liquors via the Minibar Delivery app.

It’s happy hour on a Wednesday night. Sitting in his Ithaca apartment, Elliot Castillo, 22, is craving some Pinot Grigio. He pulls out his Android smartphone and touches his finger to a recently downloaded app in the bottom right-hand corner of his home screen. With a simple touch, Castillo is brought to the entire inventory of Top Shelf Liquor Store on Ithaca’s South Hill.

Castillo is a weekly visitor of Ithaca’s liquor stores, but now the liquor store is being brought to him. On October 6, Minibar Delivery app launched in the Ithaca community, making alcohol an “on-demand luxury consumable.”

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According to, Minibar was ranked 149th of more than 10,000 ‘food and drink’ apps available in the app store, as of Oct. 13, 2014.

Minibar Delivery was co-founded by Lara Crystal, a 2003 graduate of Cornell University, and Lindsey Andrews after receiving their master’s together at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“We saw an empty space in alcohol where there really wasn’t a go-to destination online to shop for wine and spirits,” Crystal said. “It’s one of those industries where people still have to go to the store.”

The startup launched in New York City in February 2014 and according to Crystal the company has been growing exponentially each month. With its rapid success, Minibar is ready to expand beyond the city, starting with Westchester and now in Crystal’s college town.

“I spent four years in Ithaca and thought it would be a great test of a suburban market. There’s more driving, it can be really cold and people don’t necessarily want to drive around to their local liquor store,” Crystal said.

Although, the app only launched this past winter the company saw an increase in use in New York City during inclement weather.

Crystal said talks of expansion to the Ithaca market began about a month ago, when Top Shelf Liquors approached Minibar. She said they hope to eventually add a beer store to the platform as well.

“We’ll definitely learn a lot as we go about the drinking habits of Ithacans versus New Yorkers,” Crystal said.

The app requires customers to make a $25 minimum with no additional delivery fee and guarantees the order will be at your door within an hour.

Christopher Kusznir, owner of Top Shelf Liquors said he had been pursuing a delivery service for his business for a couple of years. The biggest challenge was finding a way to have their inventory accurately displayed online. Top Shelf looked at other alcohol delivery apps, such as Drizly, to digitize their sales.

“We liked where Minibar was at as a company,” Kusznir said. “They were more adaptable and flexible for smaller stores.”

Kusznir said Top Shelf has hired two delivery drivers to accommodate the new partnership and the business plans on promoting Minibar through flyers, coupons and promotional material.

A current New York City partner, Atlantic Cellars, began working with Minibar upon its launch in February. General Manager, Guido Venitucci, said Minibar has helped increase revenue to the business.

“For any store like ours that has limited foot traffic, it has expanded the walls of our store,” Venitucci said.

Regardless of location, Crystal believes Minibar will fill a niche market for today’s generation.

“Millennials are looking for an easy way to get everything brought to them,” Crystal said. “They don’t want to spend time running errands. Having a conveniently, merchandised app that allows you to easily find what you want is something people are looking for.”

See this post on Ithaca Week

September weather increases quality of Finger Lakes grapes

By Emily Hull and Steve Derderian

Harvesters at Hosmer Winery, in Ovid, New York, check out the Chardonnay grapes they harvested Thursday afternoon.

Harvesters at Hosmer Winery, in Ovid, New York, check out the Chardonnay grapes they harvested Thursday afternoon.

With record-low temperatures throughout winter 2014, Finger Lakes wineries are now seeing a smaller yield of their product. However, ideal temperatures in September have led to a heightened quality of grapes this harvest season.

“The warm sunny days are great to speed up ripening and cool nights are ideal for flavor development,” Jim Trezise, president of the New York State Wine and Grape Foundation, said. “The weather couldn’t have been better.”

Scott Osborn, president of Fox Run Vineyards in Penn Yan, New York, said he saw a 70 percent loss in his other grape varieties, but his Chardonnay grapes were saved by the balanced climate of the past month.

Aaron Roisen, winemaker at Hosmer Winery in Ovid, New York, said even though there is a smaller crop, the winemaking process is being positively affected by the recent weather habits.

“The sugar levels are really high in most varieties because the crop is down quite a bit,” Roisen said. “Some years you’re not favored the luxury of natural ripening.”

Since Labor Day, wineries throughout the Finger Lakes have been reporting a smaller yield compared to last year. The 2013 harvest saw a record-setting season for New York State, bringing in 200,000 tons of grapes. According to Trezise, the 2014 harvest is below average.

“We haven’t had a polar vortex-style winter since 2004,” Cameron Hosmer, owner of Hosmer Winery, said. “It’s just the first time in ten years we’ve had a winter like this one.”

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Hosmer’s greatest loss was in the Sauvignon Blanc variety. In 2013, the Hosmer’s harvested 18 tons of grapes from their vines, this year only one and a half. Hosmer said the damages throughout the Finger Lakes would be site specific.

Trezise said location played a big part in the amount of winter injury the grapevines saw.

“It really depends on north, south, east and west,” Trezise said. “The northern ends of the lakes, up by Geneva on Seneca Lake, were hit much harder than down by Watkins Glen. The vineyards that are on the eastern sides of the lakes that have a western sun exposure, did better than the ones on the west side of the lakes.”

Trezise said the eastern sides of the lakes receive more lake effect benefits and have longer exposure to warm air and sunshine.

Most wineries suffered from “bud kill”, where the buds, or what become grape clusters, are killed due to the low temperatures. Trezise said this is much more manageable than when the grapevines die.

“If you have bud kill you just have a smaller crop for that year,” Trezise said. “If you have vine kill then it takes you five years to recover because you have to pull out the dead vines, prepare the land, plant the new vines and wait four years for a new crop.”

Grapevines are a tough crop because they can withstand five to 10 below zero degrees Fahrenheit, Trezise said. The snow helped tremendously in insulating the vines, Hosmer added.

Vincent Altiperi, owner and winemaker at Billsboro Winery in Geneva, New York, said he and his team are making changes to their harvest process.

“We’ve already made adjustments to the vineyards — reducing crop load and leaf pulling,” Altiperi said. “We’re just trying to anticipate as best we can knowing the season was a bit cool and things are delayed. Every year you make a little different style of wine, so this is probably not going to be a year where you have big, high alcohol bold reds.”

Altiperi said previous successful harvests will allow wineries to maintain their stock even if this year is less bountiful.

“Even with some damage or major damage, most wineries are going to survive,” Altiperi said. “It definitely could’ve been worse, it always could be worse.”

See this post on Ithaca Week.

Hackathons hire: Cornell joins national tech industry trend

By Emily Hull and Lauren Mazzo

Students participate in Cornell University's first-ever student-run hackathon, BigRed//Hacks.

Students participate in Cornell University’s first-ever student-run hackathon, BigRed//Hacks.

Over 300 students from schools throughout the northeast gathered on September 26–28 to take part in Big Red//Hacks, Cornell University’s first-ever student-run hackathon.

Hackathons are events where programmers, engineers and others work intensively on producing software programming, apps and startup business ideas within one weekend. According to a survey by student hackathon organizer Major League Hacking (MLH), 58 percent of hackathon participants received offers for internships, full-time jobs or part-time work as a result of attendance.

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“Companies are starting to recognize that hackathons are a very powerful recruiting and marketing opportunity because developers are in such high demand,” Jonathan Gottfried said, co-founder of MLH.

Siya Raj Purohit, project manager online computer science education site Udacity, said she’s noticed a cultural shift in the post-grad recruitment process. Universities used to get paid by companies to allow them to recruit their students–now those companies are investing in student hackathon projects.

“Companies are investing in hackathons because they realize this is where they’re going to find their next talent,” Vikram Rajagopalan said, director of University of Michigan’s MHacks. “They want the passionate people who come up with ideas and say I’m not going to wait for this to be built, I’m going to build it myself.”

Leon Zaruvinsky, the co-director of Big Red//Hacks, said he wanted to bring a hackathon to Cornell to fill a void.

“We haven’t really had much of a hacker or maker culture,” Zaruvinsky said. “This focus has definitely started to change in the last few years with the founding of the Pop Shop, the CU App Development Team, and the growth of various startup events. BigRed//Hacks is the next step in bringing this culture to an untapped and much larger audience in a way that’s both fun and accessible.”

According to MLH, more than 40 hackathons will take place across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom this semester.

“They’ve become a place to learn real world practical skills. You might learn the theory in the classroom but you learn practice at the hackathon,” Gottfried said.

MHacks, the fall 2013 University of Michigan event, was one of the first large-scale student-run hackathons–breaking the record at the time with 1,200 participants. Rajagopalan said they became popular around that time.

“We brought students from across the U.S. to this event,” he said. “They all went back to their schools saying, ‘I want to build this at my school.’”

Hackathons provide unique opportunities for student “hackers” to imagine, create, collaborate and produce projects. They also get students hired.

Anthony Rotoli, a Microsoft recruiter at BigRed//Hacks, said the best way for students to get noticed by employers is to attend events like hackathons.

“At a career fair, we walk away with a stack of like 500 resumes, but at an event like this, we might walk away with 5 or 10 people that that really impressed us,” Rotoli said.

Rotoli wasn’t allowed to release exact numbers on how many students Microsoft hires from hackathon events, but he did say that the company hires well over 1,000 full-time employees and 1,000 interns yearly.

Although hackathons offer students career opportunities, they aren’t limited to corporate employment. Hackathon culture provides an entrepreneurial atmosphere many students find lacking in their computer science curriculums.

“When you get a bunch of passionate people willing to throw away whatever else they were doing for the weekend and isolate themselves for 36 hours to build things, you get amazing results,” said Rajagopalan.

See this post on Ithaca Week.